US Marijuana Party

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Afghan peasants bear the brunt of curbs on opium

By Rachel Morarjee
Financial Times, UK

Esther is only 13 and she does not want to get married, but her fiancé is anxious to tie the knot.

He is a 70-year-old drug baron who will claim the girl in lieu of a $2,000 debt her family amassed when their opium harvest failed.

"We don't have any choice. If the money-lender wants our land, our daughters, we have to do whatever makes him happy," says 65-year-old Abdul Satar, tears welling up in his eyes.

Mr Satar's harvest was wiped out by a freak hailstorm rather than US-backed counter-narcotics forces, but his predicament highlights how impoverished farmers bear the brunt of the war on drugs.


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