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Tamar Hoffman

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If you had to select the driving factor of the turmoil in Afghanistan, what would it be?

The following is a quotation by an Afghan farmer from the recent National Geographic article "Afghanistan's Opium Wars." I found it extremely interesting, and was wondering what responses others might have to it.

"The Taliban aren't pressuring me [to grow opium]—that's just a story you see on TV. I grow for myself. I smuggle for myself. The Taliban are not the reason. Poverty is the reason. And they'll keep growing poppies here—unless they're forced not to. Force is the solution for everything. As we say in Pashtu, 'Power can flatten mountains.'"

If this is a widespread opinion among the Afghan people, we may be attacking the problem in Afghanistan in the completely wrong way. Maybe fighting poverty should be the priority, and drugs and terrorism with deteriorate once that is improved. A war on fighting poverty is far less risky than a war on terrorism, and may in fact be a more permanent solution. What do you think about this?

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    Mar 12 2011: But the real question in my mind is whether the Taliban or poverty is at the root of the problem. This may be like asking what came first the chicken or the egg, but if we can clarify an answer to this problem, the war in Afghanistan may finally come to its closing stages. While this is optimistic, taking a fresh approach to the problem at hand may be the best solution at this point.
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    Mar 3 2011: we have no other choice.......................or we'll destroy them completly (begining with the talibans from Pakistan), or we'll lose this war.
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    Mar 2 2011: Could it be a long time history and culture of varied Tribes competing with each other that are complicated by pressure from the Taliban?

    I can not think of a solution for this at the moment.
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    Mar 2 2011: So what do you think a solution to the problem is? Trying to go after poverty in the traditional sense (food, education, and other forms of aid) or chasing after the Taliban?
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    Mar 2 2011: As the Chinese saying goes, clouds are not pushed, they are drown... Right next to the words stubborn as mules is a picture of Afghanistan .... As Sam Kinston said about Somalia , you're living in a desert , go to where the food is, move.