Tasked With Combating Opium, Afghan Officials Profit From It

GARMSIR, Afghanistan — The United States spent more than $7 billion in the past 14 years to fight the runaway poppy production that has made Afghan opium the world’s biggest brand. Tens of billions more went to governance programs to stem corruption and train a credible police force. Countless more dollars and thousands of lives were lost on the main thrust of the war: to put the Afghan government in charge of district centers and to instill rule of law.

But here in one of the few corners of Helmand Province that is peaceful and in firm government control, the green stalks and swollen bulbs of opium were growing thick and high within eyeshot of official buildings during the past poppy season — signs of a local narco-state administered directly by government officials.

  • Ed Ellison

    Tell me again why so many western nations spent blood and treasure to enrich a few individuals in this shithole. Our military and political leaders have known about this “little” problem for years now, so this is not a new thing at all, yet they put our young men and women in harm’s way.
    Essentially our troops have been protecting the cash crop of an utterly corrupt and evil government.

  • Ron MacDonald

    The West should go in a spray a herbicide throughout Afghanistan killing everything. Perhaps then they’ll learn their lesson.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    Even in Afghanistan, money talks and bullshit walks.