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BRITISH Army commanders formally took over responsibility for Afghanistan's lawless Helmand province yesterday as Britain's strategy to eradicate opium production and defeat Taleban insurgents was criticised as "doomed to failure".
A report published by the Senlis Council, an independent think tank that monitors Afghanistan's drugs trade, paints a depressing picture of the prospects for the deployment of 3,300 British troops to southern Afghanistan later this month.
It says previous efforts to eradicate poppy farming in the province have fuelled the insurgency that is threatening to overwhelm the Kabul government's control of the lawless region.
British Col. Chris Vernon says recent successes prove that high-tech western surveillance is sometimes no match for old-fashioned contacts and local knowledge.
"The coalition (forces) clearly have western, high-tech capability, in terms of sensor systems, that we can get from our western technological edge," Vernon said Wednesday.