Doomed to Failure

by Joshua Foust on 1/30/2007

Afghanistan is beginning a major eradication campaign in Helmand province, famous for its violence and poppies. Mark Norton, the British first secretary of counternarcotics, thinks 117 tractors will be plenty enough to remove all that opium.

Similarly, Mr. Norton labors under the impression that the farmers are “greedy, not needy,” as if they could conceivably grow other crops without significant protection from the drug lords. The eradication program is going to avoid known places of fighting, which deeply limits where these 117 tractors can be put to use. And ISAF is providing only limited support, as it is supposed to be an “Afghan-led mission.”

I am curious as to how they don’t think this little scheme is doomed to failure from the start—sending a few dozen tractors into a Taliban strong hold to wipe out their funding base.

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– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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