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"Your 'smack' dollars at work!"
From AP, via Yahoo! News: " Afghans to Drug Lords: Keep Profits Home."
Afghanistan will encourage its powerful drug lords to invest their illegally earned profits in the war-shattered country, according to the governor of the nation's top opium-growing region.
"We as a government will provide them the opportunity to use their money for the national benefit," Helmand Gov. Mohammed Daud said during a trip to the region this week by U.S. Ambassador Ronald Neumann.
"They must invest in industries. They must invest in construction companies," he said.
No problem. Drug dealers are always out for the good of their country and fellow man.
The drug trade employs about one in 10 Afghans and brought in $2.8 billion last year, Afghan and U.S. officials say. The vast majority of that goes to traffickers and only a small fraction to farmers.
Drug agents in recent years have considered using airplanes to spray herbicides on the poppies, but strong opposition from Karzai halted the idea, the diplomat said.
The ground eradication campaign has also met with resistance.
Taliban rebels have vowed to defend the opium farmers. In some small towns in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces, posters purportedly by the insurgents have been pasted on walls, promising to prevent widespread destruction of the poppies.
So... give up on stopping opium production, and ask the producers, allied with the Taliban, to invest in public works projects. Bad idea, especially with the lingering memory of Bamiyan as the Taliban's idea of civic beautification.