Here’s a map of Afghanistan’s opium poppy production by province:
Here’s a map of coalition casualties in Afghanistan, with a highlight of Waziristan, where drone strikes are most prevalent.
Kandahar and Helmand are the gold mine, they are where coalition troops were most at risk. The area being droned is Waziristan, home to the political leadership of the bi-national Haqqani network. Afghan Logistics Just Got Much Harder describes the added distance and costs we face in our withdrawal due to the slaughter of 24 Pakistani troops in 2011. We are simply not wanted in Afghanistan, and the residents have the temperament to make that decision, and then make it stick.
This will never work politically, but if we intended to reduce the hazard Afghanistan poses the right thing to do would have been a short, sharp action against radicalized Arabs in the country, then spending our dollars facilitating legal use of the country’s opium crop. Global Access to Pain Relief Initiative is just one many efforts that could use opium derivatives, relieving the suffering of both Afghans and cancer victims worldwide.