En brite skriver i the Times om hvordan han arbeidet for et rekonstruksjonsprosjekt i Helmand. De skulle ikke betale folk i kontanter. Ryktet ville ha det til at britene kom for å utrydde heroinproduksjonen, og britene gjorde lite for å fjerne oppfatningen. Prosjektet ble nedlagt, 14.000 ble arbeidsløse, og Taliban steppet inn med pengesekken. En instruktiv historie.

The closure of AIP by USAid threw 14,000 men back into unemployment with no relief in sight. ALP is not allowed to indulge in cash for work activity because, says USAid, ALP is a long-term project (it will last till 2009) and cash for work is a short-term fix which is not within its mandate.

While people who looked to the West for help grow more desperate, enter the «neo-Taleban» who promised the farmers that they would protect the opium from the rampaging British infidels and, secondly, pay unemployed Helmand residents to fight for them. This sudden upsurge in Taleban numbers is not some vast influx of men from across the Pakistan border nor an upsurge of popular support against a foreign invader. It is quite simply a question of economics.

The Taleban pays $200 a month with a bonus scheme for successful attacks. We are constantly told that Department for Industrial Development has huge sums available, so why not use that to restart the cash for work projects? There are enough labour-intensive, low-technology projects to employ 14,000 to 20,000 men in Helmand alone.