Afghanistan: October 22, 2002


The government finds that it is broke and facing warlords well financed by lucrative drug trade profits. Although wealthy nations pledged $4.5 billion in January, 70 percent of this was for humanitarian aid (especially for the millions of refugees returning home) and much of the remainder was in the form of credits, not cash. The government needs cash to pay civil servant salaries and buy supplies and the money isn't there. Meanwhile, farmers are tempted to plant poppies rather than wheat, if only because the poppies bring in 30 times as much cash as wheat and consume less water. Last year's opium production was some 185 tons, while this year it is expected to be 2,500 tons. 


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