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Former US official accuses Afghan government of stymying anti-opium efforts

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Mr. Schweich writes that part of the government's resistance to the drug war stemmed from the view that the common conception of poor farmers being driven to the opium trade by lack of alternatives is a myth. His office found that "The poorest farmers of Afghanistan — those who lived in the north, east and center of the country — were taking advantage of antidrug programs and turning away from poppy cultivation in large numbers. The south was going in the opposite direction, and the Taliban were now financing the insurgency there with drug money...." He adds that several reports from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime came to the same conclusion, that "poverty does not appear to have been the main driving factor in the expansion of opium poppy cultivation in recent years."

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