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Drug Trafficking In Afghanistan

Drug Trafficking In Afghanistan
Drug Trafficking In Afghanistan

In its latest report on global drug trafficking, the United States lists Afghanistan among twenty major drug-transit and drug-producing countries. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Christy McCampbell says drug trafficking is a serious threat to Afghanistan:

“Opium accounts for one-third of their economy, according to U-N statistics. This contributes, of course, to the widespread public corruption, to the damages. . . .[to] economic growth -- licit economic growth, and it definitely strengthens the insurgency problem there.”

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Afghanistan will produce more than eight-thousand tons of opium this year, a one-third increase over 2006. Ms. McCampbell said that despite the scope of the problem, counter-narcotics efforts in some parts of Afghanistan have met with some success:

“Thirteen of the northern provinces are now poppy-free. That’s seven more than last year that were poppy free. In the north, sufficient security has allowed for alternative development programs to take effect and it’s helped the farmers to improve their economic livelihood.”

Afghanistan’s government at all levels needs to be held accountable in order to deter and reduce poppy cultivation, prosecute corrupt officials, and pursue narco-traffickers and those financing their activities. Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai acknowledges his country has a problem with illegal drugs:

“Afghanistan is committed to fighting it because this evil is first, hurting us, and then youth in the rest of the world. We are committed. It will take time.”

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan William Wood says the “U.S. will more than double its funding, personnel, and programs for drug interdiction” in Afghanistan. Efforts include eradicating poppy fields, providing development assistance, and promoting alternative livelihoods. Working with Afghanistan’s government and coalition allies, the U.S. will also target shipments of illegal drugs, drug labs, drug precursors, drug money, and drug traffickers. “Together,” said Mr. Wood, “we can make Afghanistan peaceful and happy if the drug traffickers and the Taliban insurgents who collaborate with them can be contained and defeated.”