Kim Howells describes his first trip to Helmand Province
When Britain decided to take on the reconstruction of Helmand Province, Foreign Office minister Kim Howells went to see for himself what Helmand was like. He travelled in an old Russian helicopter to the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah. At the time the only foreign troops there were a small contingent of American special forces. The province had just one road, little or no security or justice system. The governor, chief of police and director of education were all illiterate and the mainstay of the economy was the growing of opium poppies to make heroin.