How to Lose Friends and Alienate People in Afghanistan

There is going to be a show on CNN called Narco State: The Poppy Jihad. As an aside CNN seems determined to ensure that no one can accuse them of not being more alarmist than Fox News. The problem, at least in the angle that CNN is promoting is that the Americans and their Afghan proxies are fixated on eradication. Additionally, they seem to equate the farmers with the Taliban.

Here are some thoughts: I don’t imagine that there’s much that grows in Afghanistan, it appears to be fairly hostile terrain in the pictures that are sent back here, what else are people to do in rural areas? If you have to farm, and poppies are the most (only?) profitable crop, what are the farmers reasonably expected to do? If the US or Karzai will not allow them to farm, from whom would they seek protection?

In other words, is it even remotely surprising that farmers are growing poppies and that they are doing so under the protection of the Taliban?

If the West is only going to eradicate poppies, it will lose the mainstream rural population in the poppy-farming areas Afghanistan. It’s really that simple.


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