Rebuffing months of U.S. pressure, Afghan President Hamid Karzai decided against a Colombia-style program to spray this country’s heroin-producing poppies after the Cabinet worried herbicide would hurt legitimate crops, animals and humans, officials said Thursday.
Turns out Canada’s not too thrilled about it either…
A senior State Department official says troops from NATO nations must provide security for opium crop-eradication projects, including new plans for chemical spraying of poppy fields Ö which is something Canada rejects. […]
Plowing up poppy fields angers Afghan farmers who rely on the crops for their livelihood, and fosters a climate of grievance that helps the Taliban in their recruiting efforts.
Canadian commanders in Kandahar have said that any direct involvement by their troops in eradication programs would put their soldiers at risk, and impede their efforts to win the ‹hearts and mindsŠ of the Afghan people.
Anybody else? The UK has some concerns…
THE Afghan government is to launch a poppy eradication campaign in Helmand province which UK military commanders fear will antagonise farmers and drive them into the arms of the Taliban. […]
British commanders have distanced themselves from the initiative, but still fear a backlash against the 5200-strong UK garrison because the Kabul authorities have ruled out compensation for crops.
One said: “The whole thing is being driven by the US, which has become impatient with the lack of progress in cutting poppy cultivation and opium production.
“Our concern is that local villagers tend not to differentiate greatly between armed and uniformed strangers sent by their own government and armed and uniformed strangers from abroad. All they can see is someone in authority destroying their livelihood.
“When that happens, everyone perceived to be involved becomes a target.”
Could it be that other countries are beginning to understand that U.S. drug policy is not only moronic, but is likely to get them killed?