Opium Wars: Can Afghan Farmers Really Stop Growing Poppies?
“We have two forms of money here: poppy, and American dollars,” says a beardless 33-year-old Helmand farmer named Rehmatou as he leaves the Marine base with his fertilizer. “This is our economy. The Taliban aren’t pressuring me—that’s just a story you see on TV. I grow for myself. I smuggle for myself. The Taliban are not the reason. Poverty is the reason. And they’ll keep growing poppies here—unless they’re forced not to. Force is the solution for everything. As we say in Pashtu, ‘Power can flatten mountains.’”
By Robert Draper, National Geographic