U.S. Admits Failure, Calls Off Opium Eradication in Afghanistan

This is big news:

TRIESTE, Italy (Reuters) - Washington is to dramatically overhaul its Afghan anti-drug strategy, phasing out opium poppy eradication, the U.S. envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan told allies on Saturday.

"The Western policies against the opium crop, the poppy crop, have been a failure. They did not result in any damage to the Taliban, but they put farmers out of work," [Richard] Holbrooke told Reuters after a series of bilateral meetings in Italy.

"We are not going to support crop eradication. We're going to phase it out," he said. [Reuters]

It's not everyday that a major international drug war program gets the rug pulled out from under it. Only two months ago, the plan was to increase eradication efforts by flooding Afghanistan's major opium producing regions with U.S troops. It was a terrible plan for lots of reasons, thus this sudden reversal is a surprising positive development.

Put simply, it appears that the State Dept. was trying to choose between escalating eradication efforts or eliminating them. After weighing their options, they eventually made the right decision. It would be nice to see a similar analysis applied to the war on drugs in its entirety.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Western policies

This is the right way to go and a very good sign. Instead of making more taliban fighters out of the farmers, it will allow the people to continue to live the way they always have. The taliban will not be able to use the drug war as another excuse.

This might be a real sign that the drug war is taking a turn for the better !

Progress!

Now how about the same policy for South America and coca.

Simple Solution

If the US is really serious about eliminating drugs why don't they just become the best customers of the drug cartels and buy up all they have at wholesale prices and burn it. Even in afghanistan the farmers would still make their money and the Taliban would be left out in the cold. Seems more cost effective and would save lives.

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