I'm having a hard time figuring-out what to do in Afghanistan from here in my command bunker.
The Taliban derives much of its power and income by serving as military protectors for the poppy growers. The new plan for Afghanistan is to send over agricultural specialists, and I assume we will pay farmers to grow alternate crops. Its been done before and worked temporarily.
The entire value of the opium crop is only $400M to the Afghan people, chump change compared to our military expenditure. The U.S. could simply buy the whole crop and destroy it annually.
I don't see how ANY suppression approach can work in the long term, and it drives farmers into the Taliban's protection racket in the short term. Afghanistan provides the heroin for Europe, IRan, Russia, etc. You cut off that supply, and the black market price will shoot through the roof. You might kill production for a couple years, but corruption will inevitably bring it back as prices rise.
The only solution I can think of is to convince governments around the world to legalize heroin. The poppies can be used to make both methadone and heroin, controlled and dispersed legally. Ween Afghan farmers off of poppy production only if and when demand is decreased through drug treatment.