Afghanistan's Poppy Quagmire

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Opium from Afghanistan is responsible for 90% of the world's heroin. It's the cash crop that's enabling resurgence of the fundamentalist Taliban. But the State Department's former coordinator for counter-narcotics says that the Karzai government, supported by the US, depends on opium, too. He claims that Karzai is protecting the drug trade to assure his re-election next year. Is growing opium poppies the only way poverty-stricken farmers can make a living, or is that a myth perpetrated to cover up incompetence and corruption? Does aerial spraying pose a greater threat to the Taliban or the Karzai administration? 

Credits

Guests:
Thomas Schweich - Former Coordinator for Counter-Narcotics in Afghanistan, US State Department, Paul Burton - Director of Policy Analysis, International Council on Security and Development, Rand Beers - Informal advisor to Barack Obama

Host:
Warren Olney

Producers:
Dan Konecky, Karen Radziner, Christian Bordal