YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Afghanistan and the Opium Trade

June 02, 2005

Re "The Lure of Opium Wealth Is a Potent Force in Afghanistan," May 29: It probably would not be an overstatement to say that opium has been Afghanistan's No. 1 agricultural product since well before they started keeping track in 1932. This opium trade has been around for 2,000 years. Opium is and has been the No. 1 cash crop of Afghanistan since well before the United States decided to throw out the Taliban.

Now we need to pay the Afghans to stop growing opium? The only thing that subsidies will do is help them to grow more opium. I recall something about not giving the hungry a fish but, rather, teaching them how to fish so they could get their own food? Seems to me that the Peace Corps could do more good than the Marine Corps right about now.

Joanne Cohen

Sherman Oaks


Thank you for the excellent article by Paul Watson and the amazing photos by Carolyn Cole. Cole's pictures show us not just the seamy underbelly of narcotics trafficking in Afghanistan, but also the incredible beauty and complexity of this widely misunderstood country. It is her gift for capturing both horror and hope (of Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.) in a single frame that makes her work truly special.

Edward Lomax

Rancho Cucamonga

Los Angeles Times Articles