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This week the 64th British soldier to die in Afghanistan, Corporal Mike Gilyeat, was buried. All the right things were said about this brave soldier, just as, on current trends, they will be said about one or more of his colleagues who follow him next week.
But the key question is this: what are our servicemen dying for? There are glib answers to that: bringing democracy and development to Afghanistan, supporting the government of President Hamid Karzai in its attempt to establish order in the country, fighting the Taliban and preventing the further spread of radical Islam into Pakistan.
Afghanistan was not militarily winnable by the British Empire at the height of its supremacy. It was not winnable by Darius or Alexander, by Shah, Tsar or Great Moghul. It could not be subdued by 240,000 Soviet troops. But what, precisely, are we trying to win?
The answer is this. The achievement is the highest harvests of opium the world has ever seen.
Doctors propose using Afghan opium as NHS pain-killer
"Afghan heroin available on the NHS? It may sound far-fetched but that is what two leading doctors from the British Medical Association have put forward as a way of dealing with a shortage of the drug. Heroin is used by doctors under its medical name diamorphine as a pain-killer for the terminally ill and after serious operations. But there is currently a severe shortage of legal diamorphine in the UK.."