Newsbrief: Afghan Crop Report Says Opium Eradication a Joke 8/2/02

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai may sleep a little sounder now that he is surrounded by the praetorian guards of the US Army, but despite a lot of rhetoric, neither he nor his benefactors in Washington and London have made any serious effort to put a dent into Afghanistan's revived opium industry. According to a BBC Radio 4 broadcast from reporters on the ground in Afghanistan, the spring harvest has resulted in a bumper crop, and less than 10% of it has been eradicated.

According to the BBC, although the Taliban successfully banned opium production last year, the poppy has returned with a vengeance -- and authorities are turning a blind eye. A loudly touted eradication program was announced earlier this year, but it was met with outbreaks of violence from peasant farmers and widespread disdain from the warlords who profit from the trade but are vital to the stability of the Karzai government. One member of the Afghan security forces who worked on the eradication program told BBC: "They came here and made themselves look busy, but it didn't look as if too many people were taking the task seriously." He estimated that the teams had managed to destroy two percent of the crop in his area.

Another area, one controlled by the US-allied Northern Alliance, ignored the Taliban's ban last year and is doing the same with Karzai's ban this year, despite the Northern Alliance's heavy representation in the Karzai government. According to the BBC, in the Northern Alliance's Bedakshan province, "cultivation has barely been touched."

Look for a wave of cheap smack to wash up against the English Channel any time now. The year's second harvest is set for September.

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Issue #248, 8/2/02 Editorial: Getting from Here to There | Despite Supreme Court Ruling, No Wave of High School Drug Testing Foreseen | US Prison Population Leveling Off, Feds Drive Small Increase | Needle Exchange 2002:00:00 A Long Way Traveled, A Long Way to Go | Baltimore Killings Continue as Politicians Continue to Ignore Role of Prohibition | Stossel Special Spurs War of Letters to ABC | Newsbrief: Cooking Speed Equals Child Abuse Under New Tennessee Law | Massachusetts Governor Vetoes Decriminalization Provisions | Newsbrief: Afghan Crop Report Says Opium Eradication a Joke | Newsbrief: Leading British Comedian Says Legalize It All | Newsbrief: Alabama Rape Victim Ordered to Provide Urine Sample for Drug Test | Newsbrief: Tennessee School Board Ordered to Back Off on Zero Tolerance -- Right to Public Education at Issue | Newsbrief: Seattle Marijuana Enforcement Initiative Signatures Submitted | Web Scan:, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Harry Levine, Ethan Nadelmann, Medical Marijuana Research, School Daily | Legislative Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar

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