As the end to the Taliban inches closer, the fields of opium the regime banned are being cultivated heavily once again in Afghanistan. With the United Nations attempting to establish a new form of government, they should also seek to establish a new, steady form of income for the citizens of Afghanistan by way of industry and production of goods, not harvesting opium.
The Taliban was the first authority in Afghanistan’s history to ban the cultivation of opium. Many citizens profited from the sale of opium that made its way to Pakistan, where the majority of the world’s heroin supply is produced. The old government that is trying to regain power, similar to before the Taliban took control, is unable to halt the cultivation of opium crops.
Opium brings in $13,000 a year versus the $100 a year from corn or wheat. The huge profits coupled with the ease of growing opium even during drought make this an attractive crop to poor farmers.
As the UN attempts to set up a post-Taliban government in Afghanistan, the addition of a job market in industry, such as clothing production or electronic equipment, should be at the top of the list of aid to the impoverished nation.
Many Afghan citizens who do grow poppies welcome an alternative by way of industries but these do not exist in the country currently. Industry and honest work in Afghanistan may give the allies a step up in the two wars going on – the war on terrorism and the war on drugs.
Without an alternative to the easily cultivated and lucrative opium crops, the production of heroin and other opiates will skyrocket.
As the domination of the Taliban leaves Afghanistan, the new government should bring tidings of honest prosperity through industry and production of goods. This may prove to be a major victory in the two wars America is fighting in Afghanistan.