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Opium crop grows near troop base

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Dan Oakes
The Age
Oct 12, 2010

MORE than half the fields surrounding the main Australian base in Afghanistan are being used to grow opium poppies, as coalition forces struggle to ween locals off the lucrative crop.

Locals question why troops and police have failed to crack down on the semi-open sale of the poppies, according to the report of a respected non-governmental organisation.

While the allied forces in Oruzgan province have had some success in convincing locals to grow wheat, fruit and saffron, opium poppies are still the province’s biggest cash crop.

”Locals find it hard to comprehend why military forces or Afghan National Police have not intervened into poppy cultivation or sale so close to the district centre of Tarin Kowt, and blame it on corruption,” The Liaison Office says in its report, which analyses the four years of Dutch control of the province.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 3:57 am

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