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The Afghan Drug War after 2014
Foreign policy in focus ^ | 3/12/14 | alex Pollard

Posted on 03/14/2014 5:54:52 AM PDT by mgist

The Afghan Drug War after 2014 If costly drug war strategies in Afghanistan have been unsuccessful even with a strong U.S. military presence, they won’t stand a chance after the U.S. withdraws.

By Alex Pollard-Lipkis, March 12, 2014. Share Print

Efforts to eradicate poppy fields in Afghanistan have only shifted production elsewhere and made the drug trade, which finances insurgent groups, more profitable. A more holistic approach would focus on demand reduction, treatment, and economic development. (Photo: United Nations Photo / Flickr) As the United States slowly draws down from Afghanistan, the country’s long-term security will hinge on more than just troop numbers and reconciliation talks. Counternarcotics strategy will also play a significant role.

The narcotics trade has been a financial boon for the insurgency in Afghanistan, a country that is responsible for more than 80 percent of the world’s opium supply. The nexus between drug profits and terrorism funding means that opium trafficking is more than just an Afghan problem — it’s an international security threat.

Since the U.S. invasion, counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan have relied on a robust U.S. military presence, which begs the question: What will the counternarcotics footprint look like in Afghanistan after the 2014 drawdown of U.S. forces?

Current indicators are not encouraging. If we keep on the same drug war path, we’ll never get off it.

Swelling the Balloon

The United States has played a central role in developing and supporting Afghan counternarcotics strategy for well over a decade. Since 2002, the U.S. government has appropriated $7.5 billion for counternarcotics funding in Afghanistan, which accounts for 7 percent of the $102 billion that Washington has appropriated for relief and reconstruction in the country. Despite this enormous investment, Afghan opium poppy cultivation increased by 36 percent from 2012 to 2013 — a record high, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

If costly interdiction and eradication strategies have been unsuccessful even with a strong U.S. military presence, they won’t stand a chance after 2014. Even if the United States can provide the Afghan government with the necessary training and support to pursue these strategies, no amount of funding can create the political will to aggressively confront all aspects of drug production and trafficking.

But the drug warriors are undeterred. At a recent hearing before the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, conceded that U.S. counternarcotics programs are “works in progress,” but insisted that continued counternarcotics support is essential to success in Afghanistan. But increases in poppy cultivation and the reported decline in poppy eradication by provincial authorities over the past several years indicate that current supply-side strategies just don’t work.

In a repeat of Plan Colombia, eradication has left rural Afghan farmers without a steady income and more vulnerable to the influence of extremist groups and black market traders. And as long as opium remains valuable, the crops that have been eradicated will always be replaced. Successful poppy eradication in one area simply drives opium production to another area — and drives up the price in the process. This phenomenon is called “the balloon effect,” since squeezing a balloon in one spot simply causes it to expand in another.

Interdiction programs — that is, efforts to seize illegal drugs and prosecute traffickers — may seem like an intuitive approach to combating the drug trade. But these programs have failed as spectacularly as crop eradication.

James Capra, Chief of Operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), has attempted to show progress in Afghanistan by pointing to increased narcotics seizure and conviction rates. But in reality these are poor indicators of strategic success. Higher interdiction numbers merely reflect increased production rates, and the drugs seized by interdiction teams are just drops in the bucket compared to what leaves Afghanistan every day undetected.

As the most unskilled and least effective couriers are caught, the most innovative and effective networks raise their prices and carry on. Higher risk premiums mean bigger profits, which are used to buy the loyalty of corrupt law enforcement and government officials who can ensure safe passage for future transports.

A More Holistic Approach

High-ranking drug warriors like Brownfield and Capra are naturally reluctant to admit that their costly interdiction and eradication programs have failed, but continued funding for ineffective policies is never going to yield favorable results. Successful counternarcotics strategies are going to require a radically different approach from the status quo — one that replaces the punitive model of drug prohibition with a model that emphasizes public health and socioeconomic development. Prioritizing alternative development programs and demand reduction strategies would be a great place to start.

A common approach is to incentivize poppy farmers to switch to legal crops. But programs to replace opium poppies with legal alternatives won’t succeed unless the authorities pursue a more holistic approach than they have in the past. Simply giving farmers seeds to plant in lieu of poppies won’t impact poppy cultivation unless other Afghan crops have been marketed as a viable option to importers. Efforts to improve Afghanistan’s agricultural export potential can decrease the necessity for Afghan farmers to cultivate opium poppies. Furthermore, these efforts would strengthen the country’s legitimate economy without propping up the illicit drug trade.

Demand reduction is also vital to a successful counternarcotics strategy. Programs must focus on providing accurate drug education and accessible treatment programs, and treat drug addiction as a matter of public health rather than a crime. For example, countries such as Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have “significantly reduced consumption of illicit heroin and even illicit cocaine” with heroin-assisted treatment programs—also known as “free heroin” programs — that help addicts recover with controlled doses of synthetic heroin. Meaningful demand reduction of heroin and other opiates will devalue opium on the black market, making drug trafficking a less viable source of funding for terrorist organizations operating in Afghanistan.

There is no silver-bullet solution to the narcotics production problem in Afghanistan. Successful counternarcotics operations will rely on comprehensive and sustainable strategies that address the issue from all sides. However, any strategy that does not align with Afghan interests and priorities will fail. As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, the onus will be on President Ahmed Karzai, his successor, and the Afghan government to break the narco-terrorism nexus.

TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: heroinmafganistan
What they arent saying is that opium production went through the roof under Obama
1 posted on 03/14/2014 5:54:52 AM PDT by mgist
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To: mgist

Warnings that Ireland faces another “wildfire spread” of heroin addiction similar to the 1980s have been raised following claims that the opium poppy crop has reached an all-time high in Afghanistan.
The war-ravaged country, the largest producer of opium in the world, had a record crop last year of more than 200,000 hectares, an increase of 36 per cent on the previous year.

2 posted on 03/14/2014 5:57:15 AM PDT by mgist (.)
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To: mgist

In the years before the US invasion in 2001 the Taliban had nearly eradicated opium production in Afghanistan. Soon after the US invasion production was up to unprecedented levels.

3 posted on 03/14/2014 5:59:55 AM PDT by Count of Monte Fisto (The foundation of modern society is the denial of reality.)
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To: mgist
Dope Inc. Category: History Society Britain's Opium War Against the World Author name: Executive Intelligence Review "The Book that Drove Kissinger Crazy" : updated edition of the Underground Classic. Britain's notorious Opium War never really ended. The United States, like China, was too great for the London money lords to occupy directly. One way America is being brought to heel is by the drug trade. Crime and other social problems in the U.S. and Mexico are massively influenced by drugs and drug dealing. Illicit drugs may now account for as much as $1 trillion annually in financing for criminal activity and corruption. TOPICS: Lyndon LaRouche’s war on drugs; British Empire’s role with the drug trade, from the Opium Wars on China, the HongShang hai Bank, the Bronfmans and Prohibition, and the rise of Organized Crime in the U.S. Financial derivatives; drug-money laundering; decriminalization; George Soros’s funding of drugs; the Afghan opium trade; the Colombian drug cartel; the relationship between drugs and terrorism. Wall St. and the drug trade; medical marijuana; the East India company; IMF toleration of drugs; Russia targeted by Dope, Inc.; the increases in the cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, and marijuana trades to over $600 billion a year. Back cover text: More than 30 years have passed since the first edition of Dope, Inc. was published, in 1978. Commissioned by Lyndon Larouche, it threatened the world’s power structure. It became America’s underground best-seller. Dope, Inc. drew the line between American patriots and the British apparatus destroying the USA. The London and Wall Street bankers ran for cover. A mammoth campaign of slander and government dirty tricks tried to bury the authors, because Dope, Inc. revealed the most deeply held secrets of the big names behind the world’s illegal narcotics trade. In Venezuela, the leading drug-running families who were exposed in the Spanish-language version, Narcotrafico, S.A., used their political influence to have it banned and confiscated. Financiers scrambled to control the damage of this unprecedented exposure. The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation was denied a license in New York State because it failed to refute the charges in Dope, Inc, when the state demanded accounting of its hidden profits, silent subsidiaries, and paraphernalia of money-laundering. Now in 2010, Dope, Inc. is completely updated: Soros — Afghanistan — the government and bankers behind the cartels. Today the British-controlled dope trade finances the world’s leading terrorist entities — Afghanistan’s Taliban, the Chechen rebels, the FARC guerrillas of Colombia. Dope money supports the bankrupt world financial system. A trillion dollars goes through the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man, Dubai. Speculation makes it trillions more. It sucks the blood of the real economy; and the dope destroys mankind’s powers of reason. Pages: 320 Price: $14.95 Add to cart
4 posted on 03/14/2014 6:12:47 AM PDT by mgist (.)
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To: mgist

Before we get out of Afghanistan, we need to agent orange every poppy field in that entire cesspool of a country.

5 posted on 03/14/2014 6:47:24 AM PDT by BuffaloJack (Freedom isn't free; nor is it easy. END ALL TOTALITARIAN ACTIVITY NOW.)
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To: mgist

The bottom line to US opiate drug use is that the vast majority of it can be attributed to one thing: self-administered opiates.

Thus, the solution is also clear: that opiates can no longer be self-administered, but need several systems to issue them out as needed.

An obvious one is a home medicine dispenser, one form of which is already being used to dispense ordinary medicine based on a time dispenser to forgetful elderly people. But the new one would be very durable, and the unit would be filled and locked by a pharmacist.

This would prevent those who had it from taking more than was prescribed, or faster.

Next would be the ability to have a single dose dispensed at any pharmacy using the system. All connected to the same database. Likely for those who had an addiction problem in the past, or lived with an addict, or in a high crime area. Vaguely like a Methadone clinic.

Then there would be licensed home delivery of single doses, for those entirely incapacitated. And, I’m sure there would be a multitude of other systems to get around the self-dispensing problem.

6 posted on 03/14/2014 7:01:23 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (WoT News:
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To: Count of Monte Fisto

Funny how the drug trade flourishes with U.S. military involvement these last 40 years.

7 posted on 03/14/2014 7:14:02 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: mgist

bammy needs supply himself and his peeps.

8 posted on 03/14/2014 7:44:24 AM PDT by onedoug
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