"'It represents more than 50 percent of the Helmand economy,' he added. 'The rest is basically international aid. So, it is used as a currency; it is used as a way to gain access to credit; it is the only economic activity. So, I would say there are two currencies in southern Afghanistan. It's opium and Pakistan's rupee.'
"That is a main reason why the Senlis Council recommends that eradication policies be rejected in favor of controlled, licensed opium poppy growing for pharmaceutical production.
"The Senlis Council says research carried out in Afghanistan shows that such a plan would not only be financially viable, but also workable on a local level. That is because the very traditional communities have strong social and ethical bonds that could be called upon, and the local jirgas (councils), shuras, and elders would readily cut their links with drug mafias.
"'It would be a way for the central government to collaborate with the local communities, and not to alienate them or antagonize them, as is currently the case with the eradication policy,' Reinert says. 'So, not only [will you] develop sustainable economic activities for Afghanistan, but on top of that you will bring the rule of law and good governance in the provinces.'"
Destroying the Afghan economy is not a good way to ensure the country's stability.