US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

These photos have been released by the Department of Defense and ISAF over the last few years. Some of the photos discuss instances of troops helping with the destruction of poppy fields. Many of the photos do not mention anything related to destruction or removal of poppies.  Instead, they describe how troops “patrol” through and around the fields. In one instance, a US soldier even seems to be even helping with cultivation. In a recent report from Geraldo Rivera which aired in late April on Fox News, a USMC Lt. Col. indicated that US forces encourage the Aghans to grow different crops, however, out of fear of losing stability poppy cultivation is tolerated and even supported. In November 2009, the Afghan Minister of Counter Narcotics General Khodaidad Khodaidad stated that the majority of drugs are stockpiled in two provinces controlled by troops from the US, the UK, and Canada. He also said that NATO forces are taxing the production of opium in the regions under their control and that foreign troops are earning money from drug production in Afghanistan.

Captain Julian Hohnen, Officer Commanding a combined Australian and Afghan Army patrol base in the Baluchi Valley Region mentors Afghan National Army Officer, Lieutenant Farhad Habib. Mid Caption: All across the MTF1 area of operations partnered mentoring is being conducted on mounted and dismounted combined patrols with ever increasing security presence being experienced by local communities from the Southern Baluchi Valley to the Northern Chora reaches as well as east through the Mirabad. Ongoing combined ANA and MTF1 security operations involving infantry, combat engineer and reconnaissance capabilities in Oruzgan have achieved multiple layers of effects including an increased rate of IED “find and render safe” percentages, increased cache finds, and enhanced trust fostered within local communities. Deep Caption: Operation SLIPPER is Australia's military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, piracy and improving maritime security. Under this operation our forces contribute to the efforts of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) - led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. ISAF seeks to bring security, stability and prosperity to Afghanistan and aims to prevent Afghanistan again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists. Operation SLIPPER also supports the United States led International Coalition Against Terrorism (ICAT) in the broader Middle East.

U.S. Marines assigned to the female engagement team (FET) of I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) conduct a patrol alongside a poppy field while visiting Afghan settlements in Boldak, Afghanistan, April 5, 2010. The FET, which is deployed in support of the International Security Assistance Force, is in the area to engage with local women in an effort to gain cultural awareness and ascertain family needs. (DoD photo by Cpl. Lindsay L. Sayres, U.S. Marine Corps/Released)

An Afghan poppy farmer watches an AH-1W Cobra helicopter fly over his field in Farah province, Afghanistan, March 8, 2009. The Cobras are providing overwatch protection for Afghan National Police officers and U.S. Marines with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment as they conduct a cordon and search in a small village. The Cobras are part of the Air Command Element for the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Afghanistan which is rooting out Taliban and insurgent fighters and providing security for the Afghan people. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Chief Warrant Offficer Philippe Chasse/Released)

An Afghani farmer stands in the middle of his poppy field in Delaram, Afghanistan, watching U.S. Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment Combat Train conduct a resupply convoy down Highway 515, from Delaram to Bakwa, Afghanistan, March 25, 2009. The Iraqi government is working to eradicate poppy cultivation throughout the country to improve the health, security and development of Afghanistan. Alternative livelihoods for farmers are being planned and implemented. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Chief Warrant Officer Philippe Chasse/Released)

DIZAK, Afghanistan - ARSIC-W’s Commander’s Emergency Response Program Manager U.S. Navy Lieutenant David Williams from San Diego, Calif., checks out a villager’s poppy crop after being informed the profit for poppy was 40% greater than the profit for growing wheat in the area. Williams visited Dizak to gather information on their needs the same day the Afghan National Police and ARSIC-W Civil Affairs Team delivered humanitarian aid to the village. He plans to use CERP funds to assist the villagers in the future. ISAF Photo by US Navy Mass Communications Specialist Petty Officer 1st Class Monica R. Nelson

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Burton Shields, commander of 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, and his interpreter Ali Mohamed discover a pile of dried poppy plants in Badula Qulp, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 12, 2010. The Soldiers are participating in Operation Helmand Spider. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Efren Lopez/Released)

Dried Poppy plants are photographed July 15, 2009, as Afghan National Army soldiers and U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment conduct a civil affairs patrol in the Nawa District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 3, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade - Afghanistan, are deployed in support of NATO's International Security Assistance Force. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. James Purschwitz/Released)

A U.S. Marine with the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, patrols a poppy field in the Garmsir District of Helmand province. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mark O'Donald/Released)

A Police Mentoring Team and members of the Afghan national police patrol through a poppy field near Combat Outpost Castle, Helmand province, Afghanistan, March 29. PMT routinely patrol the area searching for improvised explosive devises, looking for Taliban influence, and interacting with the local populace while mentoring the ANP.

Afghan farmers grow poppies outside the Salaam Bazaar in Now Zad, Afghanistan, April 14, 2010. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew P. Troyer/Released)

Afghan farmers walk the fields and check their poppy plants as poppy season nears in Now Zad, Afghanistan, April 14, 2010. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew P. Troyer/Released)

Afghan children sit outside a poppy field in Now Zad, Afghanistan, April 14, 2010. The children played together while older family members worked the poppy fields. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew P. Troyer/Released)

BALA BALUK, Afghanistan--Opium fields ready for harvesting are the target of poppy eradication by Afghan National Security Forces in Bala Baluk district on April 15, 2009. Tractors plow up poppy fields to prevent farmers from harvesting their opium crop. ISAF Photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Monica R. Nelson (RELEASED)

BALA BALUK, Afghanistan--Opium fields ready for harvesting are the target of poppy eradication by Afghan National Security Forces in Bala Baluk district on April 15, 2009. Tractors plow up poppy fields to prevent farmers from harvesting their opium crop. ISAF Photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Monica R. Nelson (RELEASED)

A Por Chaman resident helps other local villagers with destroying a poppy field in the district of Por Chaman in Farah Province, Afghanistan, May 10, 2010. The destruction of the poppy field occurred in the presence of Farah Provincial Governor Rahool Amin, as an effort to promote positive agricultural solutions such as wheat cultivation. (ISAF photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Rylan K. Albright)

A Por Chaman resident helps other local villagers with destroying a poppy field in the district of Por Chaman in Farah Province, Afghanistan, May 10, 2010. The destruction of the poppy field occurred in the presence of Farah Provincial Governor Rahool Amin, as an effort to promote positive agricultural solutions such as wheat cultivation. (ISAF photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Rylan K. Albright)

Dead poppies mark the destruction of a poppy field in the district of Por Chaman in Farah Province, Afghanistan, May 10, 2010. The destruction of the poppy field occurred in the presence of Farah Provincial Governor Rahool Amin, as an effort to promote positive agricultural solutions such as wheat cultivation. (ISAF photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Rylan K. Albright)

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35 comments for “US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

  1. May 21, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Good thing we don’t have any drug problems in the world. Amazing!

  2. May 22, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Holy crap that’s a lot of drugs!

    Nice to know our military is protecting something important….NOT!

    Looks like Poppy fields are more important than Wheat fields.
    Maybe their government should subsidize wheat like ours do corn!

  3. Jacob C.
    May 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Nice, the provincial Governor is there, what a photo-op.

  4. May 27, 2010 at 1:37 am

    poppy plants are so beautiful though..

  5. sea
    June 26, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    This explains why herion use (world wide) is UP 93% since the US took control. (UN stats)

  6. Don Parker
    June 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Germany’s “storm Troopers” used meth during wwII our troops used meth during Korea, Air America(CIA) hauled heroin and meth during Viet Nam and cocaine all over S Amer.and into this country, so is anybody supposed to be surprised that our military is involved in protecting the heroin crops in Afghanistan. Maybe this will help people understand the real meaning of that old saying “All’s fair in love and war!” Not moral, just fair…there is a difference!

  7. mindash
    September 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    well to those saying they’re guarding nothing of importance consider how important things like morphine are especially during times of war and also consider that even fort knox has been said to contain a vast quantity of morphine in case something ever happens to these fields that provide the alkaloids nessicary to produce every narcotic pain medication to date pretty much in turn helping cancer patients along with many others to deal with an otherwise agonizing condition. yeah they make heroin from opium but the majority of poppies are grown for pharmecuticals, in turkey for example the turkish gov often inspects local farmers fields for signs of slicing pods for opium which is not allowed, instead they harvest the dried poppy pods and send them to the gov’s local alkaloid processing plant to create medecines

  8. 4Veritas
    September 27, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Anyone who thinks the US mission in Afghanistan is noble, think again. The US is aiding and abetting the destruction of another soverign country with taxpayer money for drug running of opium poppies for the globalists, so the banksters can make trillions selling armaments, drugs, then laundering the money, and incarcerating the users when caught in corporate prisons, in America. Obama is nothing but a corporate drug runner and poverty pimp, well trained through his foundation and CIA past. Don’t anyone try to spin this into a just cause, because it isn’t. It is simply bombs, drugs, murder, and destruction for profit, and America is responsible for its actions.

    • American Revolutionist
      November 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      I agree with much of what you said about the American Government. But you obviously do not understand that the United States governement does not represent the American people anymore. The American people are controlled and brainwashed into believing that the military is doing noble things around the world when they are just murdering, drug running, satanists. Americans themselves are just good normal people who love our families like you and your people do. We want peace! However our American government is run by EVIL EVIL people and there is not one god damn thing an american citizen can do about it. The only way to get the United States governement to stop occupying other countries and trying to control all of the monetary markets is for the american people to start an all out REVOLUTION! We the PEOPLE of the United States of America oppose our government and its military actions but they oppress us with more and more taxes and if you dont pay, the IRS will put us in jail. If you think they are bad overseas, how do you think it is here in the USA? So Indian, dont hate the people of America because we ARE NOT THE PEOPLE OF THE GOVERNMENT!

  9. December 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    American Bastards in Afghanisthan are the source of this problem. Those bastards are cultivating poppy in huge quantity in afghanisthan and then exporting that poison into India, China and Central Asian republics. Pakistan is already dead with drugs. Now it’s india and chin turn. I sincerely pray to GOD that these MOTHER FUCKING AMERICAN BASTARDS should be bombed to stone age or infected with deadly virus and USA should become a graveyard of it’s citizens.

    These bastards have no morals. British bastards did the same thing to china with opium illegal exports thus addicting chinese to that opium shit for 200 years. When Communists came to power in china, they have put aa check for this drus and china recovered.

    USA knows very well that Punjab and Rajasthan people are martial race and if they are addicted to drugs, india will be fucked up by invading bastards. Man, i never hate any country other than these american bastards. They r rotten stinky shitholes. What the fuck the state govts are doing? Central govt is headed by a Sikh and he should atleast concentrate on this problem.

    We know what happened to youth in Afghanisthan and pakistan who were addicted to druga and turned to Taliban. USA wants to destroy the rising power of India and China which are threatening american dominance. Even child girls are getting addicted to this shit. Women will loose their fertility and good breed will be replaced with bad breed and psychic sadists will take over the society. Death to NATO. These baastards should get out of ASIA.

    Americans!! Remember my words. Whatever atrocities your govt is doing on fellow humans for it’s power greedy political bastards, GOD will punish you with thousands of years of hell and your nation will become a rat hole. Remember what happened to Persia? They did the same atrocities on many nations and today they are beggers and lost everything. Same fate is waiting for america and it will become Drug addicted States of america. You guys have no morals. GOD will punish you for torturing so many humans. Your economy is surviving with this drug money and blood of asians. You will be bombed in the same way Japan was bombed. Wait nut heads, China will pound your asses and fuck the shit out of your asses. Your debt ridden shithole will break.

    • Killajag
      June 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm

      Regardless of how you feel about my country, because at times even I can’t stand my government, maybe you should actually speak to people who have served in Afghanistan. They are patrolling the poppy fields to keep the Taliban out. The poppy plants were there long before we were, they’ve been using the poppy plants to make opium in Afghanistan for a long time. We are trying to get them to stop, hence the patrolling of the poppy fields. It’s strange that we are supposedly keeping these poppy fields going and making the drugs to send to everyone else when we are destroying them and trying to promote wheat as an alternative. Weird that we would promote growing food over poppy plants, man we sure are evil bastards. On another note there is not a country in the world who can compete with us military wise. We have better everything… guns, planes, ships, subs, bombs… we have the best military technology in the world.

    • me
      November 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      You ignorance is outstanding.

      • January 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm

        Not only is he ignorant but he is actually so blatantly and purposefully ignorant that it makes me think that he actually Tries to be stupid. A little knowledge for you. I live next to Fort Drum, New York. I have friends that have served in this part of the country that these were taken. A lieutenant in the 10th Mountain Division sent some soldiers to burn the poppy fields in an area that they were paroling, and once the detail was completed he was called by the regional commander and reprimanded, why? Because the Secretary of Defense has given strict and clear orders. The fields are the only support for the local economy, and are not to be touched. The very act of being present in the area gives protection to the fields and the farmers. According to the United Nations report titled: Annual yield and projected impact of poppy production in Afghanistan. The yearly production has been “corralled” for lack of a better word, to the Helmand Province. In short the crop is protected by the US military, and blind patriotism is the same thing as slavery. Have a good day Killajag, read a f*cking book, Dummy.

    • what?
      November 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      You need to:
      – get real facts
      – lose the “god” threats… haha really?
      – ponder on your religious beliefs, and see how much of a hypocrite you are
      – realize that the people of america are not the govt

      Go ahead and kill all of americans citizens for something their govt did. That’s real “moral”

      By your logic, you should rot in hell and have your “god” punish you for wanting this shit.

      Can you be more ignorant?

  10. December 29, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you for this article which goes some way to balancing the earlier ‘Afghan Taliban Forming Narco-Cartels to Fund Insurgency’.

    For even more detail and balanced information on the issue see former Canadian diplomat and Professor of English at UC Berkeley Peter Dale Scott’s analysis of the Global Drug Meta-Group at

    This is a quote from the paper The Global Drug Meta-Group: Drugs, Managed Violence, and the Russian 9/11, (, an depth and extensively referenced article that reveals very different and disturbing reasons behind political and military actions in Afghanistan and Russia, and their connections with the ever-increasing international drug trade:

    ‘Tajik authorities have claimed repeatedly that neither the US nor NATO exerts any pressure on the drug warlords inside Afghanistan. “There’s absolutely no threat to the labs inside Afghanistan”, said Avaz Yuldashov of the Tajikistan Drug Control Agency. “Our intelligence shows there are 400 labs making heroin there, and 80 of them are situated right along our border…”, Yuldashov pointed out last year.’ (Source Asia Times)

  11. January 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    This is why my neighborhood are full of young adults with Oxycoton problem, which is a synthetic heroin.

    • mickey
      July 23, 2011 at 8:07 am

      More of it will be grown though. Surely the best way to deal with the drug problem associated with the U.S is to educate the young about the implications of drug use not send the U.S army into destroy what the U.S doesn’t want. Firstly education means that if no one wants the drug then their is no market for it, it becomes unprofitable and the trade stops, simple as that. This thing is economically driven, which is basically what this article is about, it’s basically what war is about. Secondly it means that the U.S doesn’t appear as this arrogant overseer of the World, World relations will restore and maybe we can have some peace.
      The drug issues in America and the rest of the West are related to our society not the customs of other nations,(remember opium is a custom in Afghanistan, as it was in ancient China).

  12. Deathstyle
    July 10, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    US troops patrolling poppy fields? They are only protecting the crops to prevent the Afghan people from revolting. If we destroyed the crops the poppies couldn’t find their way into the global heroine trade, which it is doomed to do whether by Talibani influence or not (Afghanistan, according to a US Government report, produces 90% of the world’s opium supply). The end-run is that the drugs make it to our streets and our police (80% of which are ex-military) snatch up the small guys and instead of enter the “offenders” into de-tox and treatment programs they incarcerate them using the power of the Criminal Justice System, introducing them to hard-core criminals and teaching them the tools of the trade, and turn them into hardened criminals locked in the prison cycle. Does a healthy society allow this? Our application of logic is flawed by unreal and unnecessary fears. We would be safer if these poppy fields were destroyed. Let the troops, trained and armed; not our children and our fellow citizens, unarmed for the fight, fight the battle. Wake up people.

  13. Frank Bousek
    July 14, 2011 at 1:22 am

    Don’t destroy, cultivate ! We need all the drugs we can get to keep us in stupor, when the Sovereign Bankrupcy finally hits us !

  14. Henry Massingale
    September 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    This site is now taged as a interface into 10,000 sites
    The Fifth Element / byMassingale on
    Between Canada and the USA, 1.2 million people died from Oxy Heroin. June 30, 2011, C-Span-3 on TV, the Capital Hill, Director Senator Sheldon, Senate Judiciary Sub Committee for Crime and Terrorism. Announcement Oxy. Heroin, this Heroin Health Care Concept, in 2007 that 27,000 Americans died, from this Opioid. If this Oxy Heroin is so good for our economy where is the money ?
    Henry Massingale Founder and Director of the,
    International Boycott Of The Aarbic Drug Empire

  15. Truthwillsetyoufree
    September 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Open your eyes..the USA and its NATO allies are protecting their drug interests in Afghanistan…the web is so tangled and intricate that explaining it here would be a waste of time.. Know this, before NATO intervention the Taliban had almost wiped Opium production out….the big economic hit to Organized crime and its western world government ties watched Millions of dollars evaporate..thus the war.

    • you got it
      November 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      We went in to fight terror… that was bull, but the people saw through it and saw we were there for the oil. HAHA

      American citizens think we lied about terrorism to get oil, but really, they want your eyes on the oil being hidden by fighting terrorism, that noone sees us protecting the drugs.

  16. December 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    They are always showing documentaries on tv about the heroin addiction problem and how the DEA and Police are focusing at the top source of the supply chain. Well here it is right there in Afganistan. Get busy and destroy this crop. All those farmers are ?Americas worst enemy and should be targeted. Are we supposed to pay our taxes to have our Military aid and abet the enemy, Do Bush and Obama really need their fix that bad?

  17. August 11, 2012 at 8:39 am

    US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan, they are looking after my opiate painkillers.
    Time for them to come back home.
    Anyway, Afghans did a good job so far and there is no need for US/NATO troops to look after poppies.

  18. Daniel Holland
    October 4, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    haha nice! are dictatership goverment is going after the drugs because they want all of us to be “safe” yeah its suppose to be the land the free and freedom doesnt always see eye to eye with safty the only reason there after the opium is to pay off there debt to china not because of so called terriosim!!! god bless the men and women that died for the freedom of this country even though we are losing more and more freedom everyday!! the hell with politicans and the goverment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Nev Griffiths
    November 6, 2012 at 11:45 am


  20. Lori
    December 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Is civilization weakening the human gene pool?
    The plants are beautiful.

  21. gfku101
    October 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    the goverment has posesion over the poppy field and the fact that the poppey flower is a ingredient of heroin and with reports shows that ever since they started “protecting” these plant heroin has been more available in every country FUCK THE SYSTEM AND FUCK THE GOVERMENT ! pce out

  22. gfku101
    October 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Has anyone ever considered members of Anonymous could be in the CIA? Maybe the hive is agreeing upon ideas planted for the purpose of slaughtering anyone that would go against what the government is trying to achieve? With all of these new laws being passed without our knowledge, daily, which prohibit us from protesting, from even saying the word “No”

  23. gfku101
    October 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    or the schools going about teching us all these things about truth and respect and freedom and how3 good our country is its all a fucking fake the system doesint care about us they only care about the money have you ever noticed pharmasutical drugs actually make you sicker that just waiting it out of the drug wars that they say they stop? or the fact that they ban marijuanna for the fact that they cant control it even thow it is more healthy than most drugs? the police force is a cover up for what the system does branding poeple as villans and freaks for how they where raised i say we rise up and stand up for our rights against our goverment !

  24. Max
    February 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    This proves nothing. Only speculative use of pictures, you are very easily fooled..

  25. winnie rutabaga
    May 25, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    The earth gives us many things. Opiates are here to help us kill pain which oddly enough is what man wishes upon his fellow men. Just like everything else, man abuses opiates. So much so that you can’t even get relief from pain anymore. It is another everyday case of the lies and deceit that keep people from having a decent existence here on earth. Mankind is diseased.

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