The Afghan Opium War

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mc59zQWxP9U

Earlier this week, the Russian government convened an international conference in Moscow to call for a dramatic escalation of the drug war in Afghanistan. I went on RTTV (the Russia’s English language news channel) to explain why such measures would be ineffective and counterproductive. Indeed, even Patrick Ward (the head of supply reduction for the US drug czar’s office) agrees that forced eradication of opium poppies would push some of the world’s poorest farmers into the arms of the arms of the Taliban.

The Russian government has been urging the U.S. to adopt aerial fumigation on the grounds that it has been such a “success” in Colombia. Apparently, they took press releases of US drug warriors at face value!

Last fall, I had an exchange with Russian drug czar Viktor Ivanov at the Nixon Center about the difficulties of eradicating drug production.