Afghan poppy crop Tackling the growing of poppies in Afghanistan is a difficult problem. The current plan which is to spray herbicides is unlikely to have any lasting impact. It will have little impact anyway, since the spraying will of necessity be at low level, using relatively light aircraft. These will be extremely vulnerable to being shot down. You are likely to run out of aircraft and willing pilots before even a fraction of the many square miles of poppy crop has been sprayed. The exercise must be repeated year after year to have any significant impact. Given the vast acreages, it is necessary to use a fleet of heavy-lift aircraft such as the Hercules. The size of the problem is simply too great to be tackled by light aircraft. To reduce the risk of being shot down, the Hercules would need to fly at a reasonable altitude, say 10000 feet or above. Unfortunately, any herbicide sprayed from that altitude is liable to have evaporated and dispersed long before it reaches the ground. (Possibly you could spray herbicide from some altitude, if you do so whilst it is raining. The rain would carry it to the ground level. It would however be necessary to fly at or below cloudbase, which is likely to be a vulnerable height. Additionally, the herbicide may be rendered ineffective, if the rain is too heavy, since it would simply be washed off the leaves. It may be worth considering, but as a stop-gap approach, to destroy a crop that is already established.) Here is (perhaps) a workable solution: Simply stated: From a safe height, dispense a combination of salt and rape seed from the back of a fleet of Hercules aircraft. As both of these are solids, they will reach the ground, in most weather conditions. Since rape plants are members of the brassica family, they are easily able to grow in salty soil. Poppies are not in the brassica family, and are weakened and stunted by salt, if they grow at all. Unlike herbicides, the salt in the soil will remain active for some time, until it is eventually washed away. The rape seeds are small. However, each rape plant grows into quite a good sized bush, some 5 feet high. It should easily out-compete the poppy plants near it, particularly if they are weakened by the salt. Each rape plant produces a large number of seeds, which would produce a much denser ground cover in the following year. Taking the land out of use for poppy growing in this way has some chance of success. Spraying herbicide is too high-tech, and requires too much infrastructure and support for it to work effectively over the vast areas involved. The rape plants can be harvested and used for cooking oil production. Salting the land does not make it completely useless for growing other crops. Any plants in the brassica family should be OK. This includes food crops such as cabbage or sprouts etc, so this approach will not result in starvation of the population. Poppycock? Or worth considering?