We have a priceless opportunity to stop the Taliban dead in its tracks before it takes over Afghanistan again, and it's very simple. All we have to do is legalize opiate drugs. The Afghan opium crop this year is up 59%, and is now providing 92% of the world's supply, according to a recent article. And that money is funding the Taliban and its attempt to overthrow the Karzai government. Given where they seem to be hiding out, drug money is almost certainly also funding Al Qaeda.
The United States is one of the biggest markets for opium and its derivatives. If we legalize opium, morphine, and heroin, we cut the legs out from under the Taliban. We also do a number of other good things for ourselves, which I detailed in my February 2 post, Prohibition Doesn't Work. The "War on Drugs" wastes our time and energy fighting personal habits that would harm no one except the users if we hadn't criminalized them; and at the same time the high price caused by the illegality is pouring money into the pockets of our greatest enemies.
Legalize the stuff; sell it over the counter, subject to the same restrictions as cigarettes and booze, and taxed in the same way; and quit subsidizing Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The purported moral horror at "drug fiends" is a crock. Sure, opiates will kill you. So will a lot of stuff you can get quite legally, starting with booze.
And while we're at it, let's legalize marijuana, too, and not just for medical purposes. Marijuana won't even kill you, which is more than you can say for booze.