Poppy Trade Increasing in Afghanistan, UK Awaits Strong US Response
Poppy production is feared to be on the rise again in remote parts of Afghanistan. UK officials and customs agents report that farmers, lacking other means to support their families, have already planted poppy that will be ready for harvest in June. According to the Financial Times, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, and Italy are pushing for crop substitution programs and construction work that would allow farmers to earn a living without cultivating poppy. The U.S., however, according to British officials, is “showing limited interest” in the rise in opium production. Liverpool University professor Cindy Hamilton-Fazey assessed the situation saying, “With a weak government in Kabul and a U.S. government that is more interested in oil and counterterrorism in the region than drugs, it is inevitable that poppy cultivation is rapidly reasserting itself and that the tribal warlords will try and maximize their revenue from it.” 95 percent of the heroine in Europe originates from Afghanistan. When the Taliban was in power, revenue from poppy and heroin production funded the regime’s terrorist activities.
The Feminist Majority is calling for the US and the world community to make a commitment to a full-fledged reconstruction of Afghanistan that establishes a strong civil society, democracy, and economy. We are also urging that Afghan women be included in every aspect of the reconstruction process. To find out how you can become involved, log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
Media Resources: Financial Times, 2/22/02; UN Wire, 2/20/02; Feminist Majority