By Mohammad Stanekzai, Girish Gupta

As U.S. and Afghan forces pound Taliban drug factories this week, farmers in the country’s largest opium producing-province and narcotics experts say the strategy just repeats previous failed efforts to stamp out the trade.

U.S. Army General John Nicholson, who heads NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, announced on Monday a new strategy of attacking opium factories, saying he wanted to hit the Taliban “where it hurts, in their narcotics financing”.

Critics say the policy risks further civilian casualties and turning large swathes of the population dependent on poppy cultivation against the Afghan government.

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Thumbnail: CC Todd Huffman