WASHINGTON — US military and intelligence officials announced Monday their intent to place more armed guards around opium poppy fields in Afghanistan after a weekend raid at a lower-security location left one field ravaged.
US armed forces have been providing armed security at poppy fields in the war-torn nation since 2002, a period during which production of the opium poppy in the region has reached an all-time high.
“It only makes good sense to provide the highest level security for such a valuable and vulnerable resource,” said CIA officials in a memorandum on the heightened security and surveillance of the fields. “Leaving this particular field exposed was an oversight based in misreading our own collected intelligence. It is not in the best interest of the region nor of US military operations to leave such an asset unguarded.”
The CIA places the loss to Afghani farmers caused by the weekend invasion to be near $1.5 million, calling the loss “unacceptable”.