Drug Traffic Remains as U.S. Nears Afghanistan Exit
For years, American officials have struggled to curb Afghanistan’s opium industry, rewriting strategy every few seasons and pouring in more than $6 billion over the past decade to combat the poppies that help finance the insurgency and fuel corruption.
It is a measure of the problem’s complexity that officials can find little comfort even in the news this month that blight and bad weather are slashing this year’s poppy harvest in the south. They know from past seasons that blight years lead to skyrocketing opium prices and even greater planting efforts to come.
“Now I am desperate, what can I do?” said Mohammed Amin, a poppy farmer in Tirin Kot in Oruzgan Province, who harvested only one kilogram of opium poppy this year compared with 15 last year. “I don’t have any cash now to start another business, and if I grow any other crops, I cannot make a profit.”