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James Windle, Ominous Parallels and Optimistic Differences: Opium in China and Afghanistan, 141-164

Article

Published onSep 01, 2011
James Windle, Ominous Parallels and Optimistic Differences: Opium in China and Afghanistan, 141-164

Abstract
This paper compares two of history’s largest producers of opium - Afghanistan (2000- 11) and China (1917-35) - to suggest that in both cases production was facilitated by: (1) A lack of central control over the national territory; (2) The existence of local power-holders; (3) Internal violent conflict; (4) The existence of a significant domestic opium consuming population.
The initial analysis is extended by introducing a successful opium production
suppression intervention, The People’s Republic of China (1950s/1960s), to suggest that the control of opium in contemporary Afghanistan requires the Government to: (1) Extend the state into isolated and hostile areas; (2) Facilitate a sense of self-interest in the Afghan Government and political elite towards opium suppression; (3) Facilitate a perception that suppression benefits opium farmers; (4) Strengthen the capacity to monitor opium farmers and enforce the law.

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