Showing posts with label counternarcotics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label counternarcotics. Show all posts

Monday, March 2, 2015

Article - "The Narco-State of Afghanistan"

Najibullah Gulabzoi writes about the nexus between drug trafficking in Afghanistan and the country's national security in "The Narco-State of Afghanistan", The Diplomat, February 12, 2015.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Afghanistan's Addiction to Opium

There is widespread agreement that the $7.6 billion effort to eradicate poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has failed. In fact, the problem is getting worse every year. The Afghan economy has a heavy criminal component, criminal patronage networks involve provincial governors, district sub-governors and high-ranking members of the Afghan National Police (ANP). The Taliban are funded to a large degree from the drug trade. In 2012 Afghanistan produced 95 percent of the world's opium - exporting it to Russia, Europe, and Iran. The increase in yield from 2012 to 2013 was 50%; from $2 billion to $3 billion. Read more in "Afghanistan's Unending Addiction", The New York Times, October 26, 2014.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SIGAR - Poppy Cultivation Rises in Afghanistan

A report issued in October 2104 states that after a decade of reconstruction and over $7 billion in counter narcotics efforts, poppy cultivation levels in Afghanistan are at an all-time high. Afghan farmers grew an unprecedented 209,000 hectares of opium poppy in 2013, surpassing the previous peak of 193,000 hectares in 2007. Further increases in poppy cultivation is expected in 2014. The value of opium and its derivative products produced in Afghanistan rose from 2012 to 2013 by 50 per cent; and increase from $2 billion to $3 billion. Nangarhar province, once designated "poppy free" in 2008 saw an increase in poppy cultivation between 2012 and 2013. The former governor of Nangarhar, Gul Agha Sherzai, was not known for his anti-drug stance; in fact, he is well-known as a supporter and beneficiary of the drug trade. ISAF chose to ignore the criminal patronage network in the Nangarhar region as Sherzai was a political appointee of Hamid Karzai. See "Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan, 2012 and 2013", Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Report SIGAR-15-10-SP, October 2014.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Report - "Drugs or Hope", AREU (Sep 14)

The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) has published a new report on the opium poppy cultivation dynamics in Afghanistan. The AREU conducted field research in Badakhshan, Balkh, Helmand and Nangarhar provinces during three agricultural years from 2010 to 2012. The intent was to explore the dynamics of opium poppy cultivation, the history of government policies and programs, and the ways in which these policies and programs affected the ability of rural households to maintain their livelihoods. The paper is entitled "Despair or Hope: Rural Livelihoods and Opium Poppy Dynamics in Afghanistan", AREU, September 2014. You can view an abstract online here or read online and download here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Afghanistan is Poppy Center of the World

Poppy Field in Zabul - Photo by SSG Brian Ferguson, DVIDS
A recent report states that there is more poppy cultivation in Afghanistan now than there was in 2002 just after the Taliban were removed from power. In the last few years poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has grown significantly. Afghanistan produced almost 90 percent of the world's opium in 2013. The United States has spent more than $10 billion since 2002 on counter-narcotics in Afghanistan. Prospects for getting the opium trade under control are dim. The U.S. military essentially walked away from opium eradication. Those programs that were funded and implemented by Afghan National Security Forces were ridden with corruption. There are some very well trained and capable counter-narcotic units in the ANSF but they are constrained by the corruption of the Karzai regime and provincial governors. Congress is in a dour mood when it comes to continued funding for anything with the name of Afghanistan attached to it. It might be time to concentrate on the demand side instead of the supply side of the heroin problem. Read more in "Afghanistan Continues to be Hub of Poppy Cultivation", Voice of America, February 8, 2014.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Defense Official Outlines U.S. Counternarcotic Achievements in Afghanistan

A defense official testified before Congress providing information on the counter-narcotics fight in Afghanistan. She outlined the achievements that have been made thus far, provided information on what two billion dollars has bought in terms of counter-drug effort and capability, and lent insight into the problems that lie ahead. Read more in "Afghanistan Counternarcotics Efforts Continue, Official Says", American Forces Press Service, February 6, 2014.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Irony of Heroin, Hoffman, and The War in Afghanistan

In the Sacramento Bee, Markos Kounalakis writes on the irony of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, his role as a CIA officer in the movie "Charlie Wilson's War", and of the resurgence of the opium trade in Afghanistan. In his short piece published on February 6, 2014 he succinctly captures the story of the drug industry in Afghanistan and the unintended consequences (the military would say "second, third, and fourth order of effects") of the U.S. intervention in 2001 and fall of the Taliban regime. Read "Hoffman, heroin and the war in Afghanistan".

Friday, January 17, 2014

SIGAR Report: Future Counternarcotics Efforts

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has published a report entitled Future U.S. Counternarcotics Efforts in Afghanistan dated January 15, 2014. The report is a statement by the head of SIGAR, John Sopko, who testified before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. In his opening comments he says that ". . . the situation in Afghanistan is dire with little prospect for improvement in 2014 or beyond. Afghan farmers are growing more opium poppies today than at any time in their modern history". Mr. Sopko raises the possibility that instead of Afghanistan evolving into a successful democratic state or an insurgent state; that it may instead evolve into a failed narco-criminal state. The report can be accessed from the SIGAR website to read online or download at the link below:

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.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Good Performers Initiative (GPI) Awards Given to Afghan Provinces that Showed Progress in Counternarcotics Efforts

(Photo by SGT Chris McCullough)
The U.S. Embassy and Afghanistan's Minister for Counter Narcotics recently (Feb 13) signed an agreement allocating $18.2 million for programs supported by the Good Performers Initiative (GPI) awards. "GPI awards have been presented to 21 provinces that achieved poppy-free status in 2012, reduced poppy cultivation by more than ten percent from the previous year, or made other exceptional counter narcotics efforts during the cultivation season." Some provinces received $1 million awards for being poppy-free. The use of the funds hopefully will drive down the currently high level of poppy cultivation. You can read the entire U.S. Embassy press release entitled "U.S. Embassy and Ministry of Counter Narcotics Sign Good Performers Initiative Agreement".

Friday, March 16, 2012

U.S. Gives Afghanistan $238 Million for Rule of Law, Counternarcotics, and Law Enforcement

U.S. Government Provides Funding for Continuation of
Key Rule of Law and Counternarcotics Programs in Afghanistan

Deputy Foreign Minister Jawid Ludin and the U.S. Embassy’s Coordinating Director for Rule of Law and Law Enforcement Ambassador Stephen G. McFarland participated in a signing ceremony on March 11, in which the Government of the United States of America officially allocated over $238 million for rule of law, counternarcotics and law enforcement programs to be carried out jointly with the Government of Afghanistan. This agreement is a concrete example of the continuing commitment by the Government of the United States to our partnership with the Afghan people and their elected representatives to improve people’s lives across Afghanistan.
The funding will help the United States and Afghanistan to achieve two of our shared major strategic objectives in Afghanistan. The allotment will allow for better governance through the improved administration of justice and enhanced rule of law by supporting programs such as the Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP), which publishes and distributes free legal textbooks that specifically address Afghanistan’s post-2004 legal system. It also offers studies towards a Legal Certificate for the American University of Afghanistan students pursuing majors in business, political science, and information technology. In the area of counternarcotics, the funding will support and expand current programs including the operation of 29 residential drug treatment centers located throughout Afghanistan, and will help further joint narcotics interdiction efforts.
Through this recent allocation of more than $238 million, the Government of the United States of America demonstrates its continued commitment to assisting the Afghan government and people in creating a safer and more secure Afghanistan.
Story from US Embassy posting on March 12, 2012  accessed at link below:
Learn more about the Rule of Law in Afghanistan: