Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ruined poppy farmers join ranks with the Taliban

TimesOnline The tractor roared through the field, the plough tearing through the valuable poppy crop as the farmer looked on. A helicopter searched for insurgents and armed police stood watch, their uniforms replaced by robes and turbans to make them less conspicuous.
If there are Taliban snipers, I wonder if they would be fooled by that.
“The people are unhappy with this eradication campaign; if it goes on they will all join the Taleban,”
Why. When the Taliban controlled Afganistan they punished the poppy farmers as well, because Islam does not approve of drugs.
Dilbar, a poppy farmer in Helmand province, told The Times
I wonder if he might have an ulterior motive in saying that.
.... Farmers take huge risks to grow poppy as the market price is 20 times that of wheat. But without aid they have little choice and when the crop is destroyed they are crippled by debt, often having borrowed heavily from landlords to plant the crop. Landlords make no concessions for eradicated crops and the farmers are still expected to pay off their loans.
The government should help the wheat farmers, and punish the poppy growers, not just destroy their crops.

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