Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Poppy Popo- Backstory

March 31, 2006
Notes from the Pentagon
Unrestricted warfare
Poppy season
Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, the new top U.S. officer in Afghanistan,
offered this picture of the heroin trade there:
"You have a confluence in Helmand of criminals and Taliban and poor farmers, and the poor farmers raise poppy because the Helmand River gives them a water source, the soil is good, and the climate is very good for growing poppy. And so they can produce a rather large amount of poppy with a very small investment of time and labor in their fields.
"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
Scarborough can be reached at 202/636-3208 or by e-mail at

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