US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan ...May 21, 2010 ... An Afghani farmer stands in the middle of his poppy field in Delaram, Afghanistan, watching U.S. Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. Nice to know our military is protecting something important.
The photos in this article (see link below) have been released by the Department of Defense and ISAF over the last few years. Some of the photos show how troops "patrol" through and around the fields. In one instance, a US soldier even seems to be helping with cultivation. In a recent report from Geraldo Rivera which aired in late April on Fox News, a USMC Lt. Col. indicated that US forces encourage the Afghans to grow different crops. However, out of fear of losing stability in the country, poppy cultivation is tolerated and even supported by US and allied forces. In November 2009, the Afghan Minister of Counter Narcotics General Khodaidad Khodaidad actually stated that the majority of drugs are stockpiled in two provinces controlled by troops from the US, the UK, and Canada. He also said that NATO forces are taxing the production of opium in the regions under their control and that foreign troops are earning money from drug production in Afghanistan.
What if Army poster boy Tillman were to have returned home and spilled this story to the mainstream media? What would that have done to Army recruiting and the war effort in Afghanistan?
Also, consider, this report from the New York Times:
"The relationship between Mr. Karzai and the C.I.A. is wide ranging, several American officials said. He helps the C.I.A. operate a paramilitary group, the Kandahar Strike Force, that is used for raids against suspected insurgents and terrorists. On at least one occasion, the strike force has been accused of mounting an unauthorized operation against an official of the Afghan government, the officials said.
Mr. Karzai is also paid for allowing the C.I.A. and American Special Operations troops to rent a large compound outside the city -- the former home of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban's founder. The same compound is also the base of the Kandahar Strike Force. "He's our landlord," a senior American official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.