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Guest Thinkers

The Afghan Opium Myths

Afghanistan’s annual bumper opium crop neither benefits the Taliban nor affects America as much as is believed. It is an Asia-centric trade that lines the pockets of corrupt government officials. 

In the wake of 9/11, American television commercials castigating drug users for indirectly supporting the Taliban were greatly exaggerated, if not outright false. The opium grown in Afghanistan rarely leaves Asia and corrupt government officials are more likely to benefit from the seedy industry than the Taliban. The United States is fighting a losing battle if it chooses opium as one of its enemies in the struggle for Afghanistan. “The limitations of feasible drug-control activities in Afghanistan do not justify continuing to pursue policies that do more harm than good. Because the natural tendency of counternarcotics efforts is to help America’s enemies, the country should pursue them as little as possible.”


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