March 31, 2006
Notes from the Pentagon
Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, the new top U.S. officer in Afghanistan,
offered this picture of the heroin trade there:
"That poppy then is produced by primarily narco-trafficking organizations that move it out of Helmand and into other parts of the country and then out of the country. And with the funding that they get, they then can provide money to primarily Taliban, not so much al Qaeda, in Helmand. They can provide funds to the Taliban to recruit fighters, to train fighters, to buy weapons and arms. And in many cases, some of the farmers are threatened by the Taliban to either continue to grow the poppy to generate the funds or face death."
Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough are Pentagon reporters.
Gertz can be reached at 202/636-3274 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.Scarborough can be reached at 202/636-3208 or by e-mail at email@example.com.