As the world looks forward to the rebuilding of Afghanistan and its economy, one troubling issue looms in the background: by far, the most important cash crop in Afghanistan is the poppy, used in the production of opium and heroin. Could the goals of the war on drugs interfere with the war on terror? As part of the war on drugs, the United States had even given money to the Taliban to give peasants the incentive to change from poppy production to planting wheat or other crops. Can Afghanistan recover if the West requires that it ban the production of its most lucrative crop? Can anything take the place of the poppy for Afghan farmers?
Alfred McCoy, professor of history at University of Wisconsin
author of "The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade"
This program aired on December 12, 2001.