Striking Against Taliban’s Cash Crop

The Story:

Officials of both the United States and Afghanistan Monday announced joint attacks on opium factories in Helmand, a southern province of Afghanistan. Opium production is on the rise in Afghanistan, according to United Nations figures.

News Conference: 

At a news conference in Kabul, November 20, U.S. Army General John Nicholson, with Afghan Army Lieutenant General Mohammad Sharif Yaftali standing by his side, said that the strikes were designed “to hit the Taliban where it hurts, in their narcotics financing.”

The Thing to Know:

At an earlier stage in the war, U.S. policy was to turn a blind eye to much of the opium cultivation and processing, on the theory that (in the words of one strategist who spoke to The New York Times in 2010), “We don’t trample the livelihood of those we’re trying to win over.”

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