‘The photograph shows five men harvesting opium a couple of hundred metres from Camp Bastion perimeter defences, seen in the foreground.
Not only was this illegal drug production being carried out in the shadow of ISAF’s Main Operating Base, it was being done under the protection of British soldiers. Her Majesty’s Armed Forces (Army and RAF) were protecting this man’s cash crop from illicit ‘taxation’ by the Afghan National Police or Army.
The duplicity is in what the Ministry of Defence tell people we are doing, and what we are actually doing. As this photo was taken there was a World Service edition of ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ playing. The particular BBC correspondent, Quentin Sommerville, was ‘embedded’ with British soldiers in Helmand, who were assisting in the destruction of poppy fields. This must raise the question as to why poppy fields on the edge of Bastion’s airfield were protected whilst another farmer’s crop in a neighboring valley was destroyed?’
Afghan Opium Harvesting Protected by British Occupation Forces