Leader in today's Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,,2156902,00.html It would be facile to suggest that there is an easy route out of the opposition the Nato forces are encountering. But destroying the Afghan poppy crop - now the main livelihood of whole communities - while trying to win the hearts and minds of the people appears to be increasingly incompatible with the real purpose of the mission of permanently defeating the Taliban. Not for the first time, a "war on drugs" has done much harm. [snip] There is an alternative. It is pioneered by the Senlis Council, a counter-narcotics thinktank, which launches a new campaign this month to win support for the licensing of the poppy crop and the legal manufacture of morphine. It proposes village-level production to make a "fair trade" version of the drug that would at last put the pain relief the west takes for granted within reach of doctors and patients in the developing world. At the same time it would provide local jobs and a boost to local economies. The Senlis Council has the funding for a pilot project. It is ready to go. The official line is that there is insufficient stability for it to work in Afghanistan. But the thinktank believes it is garnering support. A licensing scheme for opium production in Turkey has worked for 30 years. A trial in Afghanistan could test its potential. But it would need a change of tone from America, whose commitment to the war on drugs looks more and more like a dangerous rhetorical flourish that British troops can ill afford.