Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan

Tuesday: debate on steps the Government are taking to assist farmers in Afghanistan to move from opium poppy cultivation to a sustainable alternative livelihood. Clearly, wheat is becoming relatively more profitable than poppies, and there is a window of opportunity. With 20,000 more NATO troops, it should become a lot harder for the terrorists to coerce farmers into growing the poppies and taxing them to finance their operations. But this year there has also been a new upsurge in the use of IEDs against our forces, and last Friday Welsh Guards Major Sean Burchill was killed by one of these fiendish devices. The Americans are spending $4 billion on coimyer-IED technology, and we need to be assured they're sharing the results with us.

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