Poppy Cultivation Complicates Afghanistan’s Struggle for Stability

KABUL, Afghanistan — The broken elevator at the Ministry of the Economy was not unexpected. A rolling blackout the night before had hit my downtown hotel, where taps ran dry depending on the time of day. But the blunt honesty of Minister Mohammad Jalil Shams had a sobering effect on an otherwise pleasant day in Kabul: Taliban insurgents and narcotics were this year’s bumper crops, he said, and if all goes well it will take at least a decade or two to win back public confidence eroded by a corrupt government that has failed to make good on promises of […]

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