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The Asocciated Press, December 24, 2009

US anti-drug effort in Afghanistan criticized

Afghanistan produces roughly 90 percent of the world's illicit opium.


WASHINGTON — The State Department's internal watchdog on Wednesday criticized the agency's nearly $2 billion anti-drug effort in Afghanistan for poor oversight and lack of a long-term strategy.

The department's inspector general said the Afghanistan counter-narcotics program is hampered by too few personnel and rampant corruption among Afghan officials.

US admits failure to eradicate drug production in Afghanistan
RAWA: Since 2001 the opium cultivation increased over 4,400%. Under the US/NATO, Afghanistan became world largest opium producer, which produces 93% of world opium.(Abdul Khaleq / AP Photo)

The inspector general's report also noted that despite a consensus among U.S. agencies that eradicating poppy fields is essential, the focus has shifted to interdiction of drug organizations and alternative crop projects. That shift is advocated strongly by Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The 69-page review also said U.S. embassies in Afghanistan and Pakistan are not adequately coordinating the program's activities. It recommended that the State Department set out clear guidelines for measuring success, boost staffing and improve interagency cooperation.

"The department has not clarified an end state for counternarcotics efforts, engaged in long-term planning, or established performance measures for its multipillared approach to counter poppy cultivation and the resultant illegal narcotics industry," the report said.

Afghanistan is the world's leading producer of opium poppy and extremists use drug proceeds to finance their fight against U.S. and foreign troops.The report also said that as the U.S. military tries to break the link between the narcotics industry and the insurgency, the State Department's role in the anti-drug effort will change and that no plans are in place to prepare for that."Although the department is planning new counternarcotics actions ... there is no agreement on appropriate roles for either civilian agencies or the U.S. military," it said. "The department has also failed to plan for transitioning responsibility to the Afghan government, should U.S. government funding not be sustainable at current levels."

The report allowed that the program has made "some progress" but said "successes are difficult to quantify due to imprecise measurement and transnational factors." And, it said that the department's "lack of meaningful performance measures adds to the problem."

Making matters worse is a lack of supervisory personnel to monitor $1.8 billion in counternarcotics program contracts at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, the report said. "Contract and program management is thus conducted from many thousands of miles away in a different time zone," it said.

The inspector general pointed out that an apparent disagreement between the U.S. embassies in Kabul and Islamabad contributed to poor coordination."This lack of cooperation is due, in part, to embassy Islamabad's conclusion that there is no connection between illicit narcotics and the insurgency in Pakistan," it said. "However, the porous border between the two countries means that actions in Afghanistan will certainly spill over into Pakistan."

"Coordination is lacking on key issues, such as increasing security along the lightly controlled, porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan," the report said.

Category: US-NATO, Drugs, Corruption - Views: 13690


13.12.2009: The Poppy Pretext: Why the War on Drugs is Really a War on the Taliban
27.06.2009: Power of the Poppy
13.05.2009: Drug trade permeates Afghanistan
11.05.2009: Karzai’s brother threatened McClatchy writer reporting Afghan drug story
10.05.2009: Only small-time Afghan drug dealers serve time
10.12.2008: The CIA and Drugs
30.11.2008: Government cars ‘used to smuggle drugs’
24.11.2008: CIA, Heroin Still Rule Day in Afghanistan
28.11.2008: UN: Taliban could clear 500 million Dollar from 2008 drug trade
15.10.2008: How Deeply is the U.S. involved in the Afghan Drug Trade?
25.09.2008: Attorney of Kunduz: some authorities in Sher Khan Port involved in drug-trafficking with mafia
05.10.2008: Reports Link Karzai’s Brother to Heroin Trade
25.07.2008: Afghanistan president accused of protecting drug smugglers
30.06.2008: Turning Afghan Heroin Into Kalashnikovs
27.06.2008: U.N. Finds Afghan Opium Trade Rising
09.06.2008: Afghanistan growing drug trade will prolong conflict 'for years to come'
04.06.2008: The Business of Opium in Afghanistan: Drugs and Corruption
05.05.2008: Rampant depression, drugs scar Afghan population
20.04.2008: Afghan drugs and regional addiction rates
05.03.2008: UN: Afghanistan Should Hit Drug Lords With Links to the Government
20.02.2008: Kabul Today: No Trees, No Paved Roads, No Electricity, No Women in Sight --Only Drugs and Guns
17.02.2008: Russian state TV suggests USA involved in drug-trafficking from Afghanistan
03.01.2008: Drug addiction rising in Afghan children
02.01.2008: Drugs boom, continued violence in Afghanistan for 2008: NATO
16.11.2007: Opium amounts to half of Afghanistan's GDP in 2007, reports UNODC
22.08.2007: More than 100,000 Drug Dealers Identified in Afghanistan
27.09.2007: Senior officials linked to drug smuggling: Afghan VP


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