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Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Afghanistan in April and told Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the opium-producing plant is a threat to stability, two officials said.
"I know he has raised those concerns with the secretary," said a senior defense official. "There is a general understanding that al Qaeda is raising money" from the drugs.
But officials say that given the political and security picture in the emerging democracy, it is better to leave the crop alone — for now[ Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Afghanistan in April and told Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the opium-producing plant is a threat to stability, two officials said.
The robust narco-economy is the source of half of Afghanistan's economic output. As the underground economy grows, so does the power of regional warlords - including the resurgent Taliban. Eighty-four percent of poppy production, said Larry Goodson, an Afghan expert at the U.S. Army War College, takes place in provinces now controlled by the Taliban and two other factions opposed to the U.S.-backed government of Hamid Karzai.
UNITED NATIONS, May 18 — The first American narcotics experts to go to Afghanistan under Taliban rule have concluded that the movement's ban on opium-poppy cultivation appears to have wiped out the world's largest crop in less than a year, officials said today.
The American findings confirm earlier reports from the United Nations drug control program that Afghanistan, which supplied about three-quarters of the world's opium and most of the heroin reaching Europe, had ended poppy planting in one season
It's called keeping your hand on the tap to the opium spigot and using it as leverage power in regards to Asia.