Rumor-Mongering about Medical Opium in Helmand

by Joshua Foust on 7/23/2009

A friend in Helmand tells me the Senlis Council (I dislike their new name) is operating in Helmand again, and they have funds to begin a medical opium program. This friend tells me Senlis is hiring “outside contractors” (not my term) to administer the project, because of safety and a need for plausible deniability.

I’m curious: if this is actually true, how will Senlis grow medial opium and avoid the ire of poppy-bombing Marines? I really hope they’re not this stupid. But, judging from their previous work—like fanning AK-47-toting surveyors and expecting to get good data—I really can’t rule it out.

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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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