Afghan solution: pomegranates for poppies
That could in effect shoot two birds with one stone, as the saying goes, merging her previous focus as first lady on healthcare with her new responsibiities as U.S. diplomacy chief.
Pomegranate juice is proven to lower cholesterol, Clinton told a congressional hearing. “Afghanistan used to be and still is one of the principle growers of pomegranates, and I think there’s a lot we can do here,” she said.
The United States has been trying for years to wean Afghan farmers away from the lucrative poppy trade, but has found it difficult to find a substitute income matcher.
Narcotics trafficking “is not the main source of funding for the Taliban and al Qaeda, but it is a source of funding. So we’re going to emphasize agriculture,” Clinton said.
“It does pose a conflict because if you’re going to aerial spray poppies you can also kill fruit trees, so it’s complicated,” she said.
Anecdotal evidence based on eating out at restaurants in the Washington area finds that high-end Mexican restaurants and others are serving pomegranate margaritas, so there is a domestic market.
Photo credit: Reuters photographer (Afghan man checks poppy crop), Reuters photographer (Afghan seller displays pomegranate)