US forces arrive in Helmand with pledge to tackle opium production

British soldiers in Helmand were under orders to turn a blind eye to the drug industry for fear of driving opium farmers into the arms of the insurgents. Army commanders argued that if they were to secure the support of an ambivalent population, the troops had to avoid becoming embroiled in fighting a narcotics trade that employed hundreds of thousands of local people.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Prior to the US invasion, the Taliban had all bur eradicated the opium production. So this idea that the Afghani farmers have nothing to do for a living if the drug trade goes away wears a little thin.

I think that the reason this story has appeared is that the blog-o-phere has called too much attention to the US troops guarding and protecting the opium in Afghanistan, paired with the sudden availability of cheap heroin in the US. Those of us old enough to recall the opium smuggling done by CIA/Air America in Vietnam easily recognize the familiar pattern.

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