The BBC reports that solar power technology is revolutionizing opium poppy farming and heroin production in Afghanistan.
Mr Brittan is a former British soldier whose company, Alcis, specialises in satellite analysis of what he calls "complex environments".
That's a euphemism for dangerous places. Among other things, Mr Brittan is an expert on the drugs industry in Afghanistan.
He zooms in on an area way out in the deserts of Helmand.
A few years ago there was nothing here. Now there is a farm surrounded by fields.
Zoom in a bit more and you can clearly see an array of solar panels and a large reservoir.
Over to the right a bit there is another farm. The pattern is the same: solar panels and a reservoir.
We scroll along the image and it is repeated again and again and again across the entire region.
"It's just how opium poppy is farmed now," Mr Brittan tells me. "They drill down 100m (325ft) or so to the ground water, put in an electric pump and wire it up to a few panels and bingo, the water starts flowing."
Take-up of this new technology was very rapid.
The first report of an Afghan farmer using solar power came back in 2013.
The following year traders were stocking a few solar panels in Lashkar Gah, the Helmandi capital.
Since then growth has been exponential. The number of solar panels installed on farms has doubled every year.
By 2019 Mr Brittan's team had counted 67,000 solar arrays just in the Helmand valley.
. . .
Richard Brittan calls up a new screen on his computer.
It shows the entire Helmand valley.
He superimposes an image showing the area under cultivation in 2012.
Then, farmers were working 157,000 hectares.
. . .
By 2018 it had doubled to 317,000 hectares.
In 2019 it was 344,000 hectares.
"And it is continuing to grow," he says.
At the same time, the land is getting more productive ... As farmers switch to solar, you can see the area shaded green growing.
"All this water is making the desert bloom," Mr Brittan says.
There's more at the link.
Since its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the USA has spent at least one trillion dollars on the war there and associated costs. More than 2,300 US service personnel have been killed there, with many times more than that wounded, maimed and otherwise seriously affected by their deployments to the war zone.
If the main economic result of that massive expenditure of lives and resources has been a massive increase in hard drug production, it'll be yet more evidence that the US's Afghan adventure has been a monstrous failure that should never have been attempted. I've said for years that there is no military solution to the problems of that country - not unless one takes that concept to its logical, merciless conclusion, and exterminates the Afghan people and reduces the country to a lifeless wasteland. Thanks be to God, we're not so far gone from common sense as to consider that . . . but it's high time we brought our troops home. They're achieving nothing there right now except keeping others (Pakistan, China, etc.) out - a dog-in-the-manger game that I don't think is worth the candle.