The U.S., Britain and Denmark provided $56 million to set up the special area over the past three years. But with allies pulling out of the country, the State Department will have to pay the bill if such zones are to be created in other provinces.
“Programs like the Helmand Food Zone are essential because their success can ultimately help to cut off financing to the Taliban. … Replication of the Helmand Food Zone in additional high-poppy-cultivation provinces will help to achieve the dual goal of strengthening Afghanistan’s economy while weakening the Taliban.”
A staffer said State Department officials at the meeting made no commitment to expand the Food Zone program.
“The British are broke,” Mr. Hollis said. “If State does not act, the Food Zone will go away.”
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