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Not even remotely what you could describe as success!

The Americans, and its allies, aimed to rid Afghanistan of poppy growing and vanquishing the Taliban.   This piece, "Bountiful Afghan Opium Harvest Yields Profits for the Taliban" from The New York Times, would suggest abject failure on both counts.

"It is spring that determines how a year turns out, according to an Afghan proverb. And if the Helmand poppy fields this spring are any indication, the Taliban will have a very good year.

As the opium harvest winds down across Helmand Province, Afghanistan’s largest in territory and poppy cultivation, farmers and officials are reporting high yields. The skies were generous with heavy rainfall, and the Afghan government with its cancellation of annual eradication campaigns. It had lost much of the territory in Helmand to the Taliban anyway.

So it was with peace of mind that farmers, and thousands of seasonal laborers who had traveled to Helmand, scraped the gum from the opium bulbs. Taliban fighters were just around the corner to lend a hand — and to receive their share of wages and taxes, in cash or kind. The crowded fields amounted to an insurgent recruiter’s dream.

“We are happy that we had a good harvest this year compared with previous years,” said Abdul Rahim Mutmain, a farmer in Musa Qala district. Mr. Mutmain said his modest plot saw a four-fold increase in yield compared with 2015, which was plagued by crop failures and concerted government eradication.

“There is no security concern for a single laborer being checked or robbed by the police,” Mr. Mutmain said. “The entire district is under Taliban control and the bulk of the harvesters are Taliban.” He added, “Actually, this is the Taliban regime — you can take your narcotics anywhere or anytime you want to sell them.”

The United Nations, which has described the Taliban behavior “more like ‘godfathers’ than a ‘government in waiting,’ ” says the insurgency extracts a large share of its expenses from the narcotics trade, which the agency put at roughly $3 billion a year within Afghanistan."

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