Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Afghanistan: A Failed Narco-State

At the end of 2014 U.S. and other NATO troops will depart Afghanistan - perhaps leaving a small number of troops behind to conduct Security Force Assistance. Part of what they leave behind will be an opium producing nation that has seen a rapid increase in the ability to cultivate poppies and export opium. Despite a long-term effort to eradicate the poppy cultivation there has been limited success. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) found itself in a quandary - if it sponsors and takes part in poppy eradication it alienates the rural Afghan farmers who depend on the crop for a living. If it doesn't conduct eradication missions then the Taliban will raise funds for their operations through imposing taxes on the opium proceeds. In the later years of the 13-year old war ISAF has backed away from the counter narcotics mission. The end result - a failed narco-state will remain. Read more in "America Abandons Afghanistan to Drug Lords", Newsweek, January 9, 2014.

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