The increases in drug cultivation make clear the failure of counternarcotics efforts, the report says, but it stresses that those failures are not the only factors that have led to the increases. Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification.
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Christopher Woody. US-led counterdrug efforts have failed to stem the tide of heroin flowing out of Afghanistan. Cultivation has increased, but a number of factors outside of those failed efforts have led to that increase. But the vast majority of opiates produced in Afghanistan don't reach the US. Taliban Drug trafficking drug smuggling. Speaking in a press briefing, Nicholson said the new authorities allow U.
Just days before the November air strikes, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime UNODC reported that the area of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan increased to a record , hectares in , up 63 percent compared with a year earlier. Opium production skyrocketed 87 percent to a record 9, metric tons.
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In his briefing, Nicholson told reporters the U. Nicholson also claimed that the drug labs and associated criminals are closely linked with the Taliban. Such claims are part of a long and problematic narrative that the Taliban are dependent on the opium economy. The evidence is far from clear. Destroying labs, therefore, will not bankrupt the Taliban, as they will still have enough money to run their operations.
In , in fact, the U. One of the results of misguided assumptions about the role of drug proceeds in financing the insurgency is that underlying factors fueling the opium trade are not addressed. A main reason for the rise of poppy cultivation, particularly in Helmand province, is the lack of central government control in the province. Despite Taliban control over these 10 districts, I noted, it is local communities that are dependent on the opium economy, not the Taliban. A recent study by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit AREU shows that, for millions of Afghans, the drug economy is the only source of income for many communities, not only farmers or drug traders.
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They are largely compelled to grow the poppy. In some cases when drug labs were destroyed in the past or poppy production was otherwise suppressed , farmers who were left with no viable alternatives moved to formerly unsettled and desert areas of Helmand, where there was no central government control. More than 2. In a little over a decade, this trend resulted in more than , hectares of previously uncultivated land being turned to poppy cultivation.
Without any strategy to support the local population after the drug labs are destroyed, it is likely that U. The rise and continued dependency on poppy cultivation is rooted in persistent challenges in Afghanistan — namely a lack of security, counter-productive government control, and a poor economy. Moreover, socio-economic factors, for example scarce employment opportunities, lack of quality education and limited access to markets and financial services contribute as well … The ongoing instability has made sustaining livelihoods by licit means more difficult and has amplified the vulnerability of the population to economic and environmental shocks.
Without addressing these challenges, any counter-narcotics campaign, be it through raids or air strikes, will be ineffective. General Nicholson, in his November press briefing, said the U. While there have been no reports of civilian casualties from recent strikes on drug labs, Helmand leaders have spoken out against U.
In a year or 18 months I will marry her off to my youngest son,' he said. The son may be disabled or he may be growing older and not had a wife. It is easy to present him with a pretty girl. Tragically, there seem to be no other options for many of these farmers, and international officials are powerless to help. As the Tribune reported, "Syed Jafer Muram, deputy director of the Nangarhar narcotics-control section in Nangarbar province, said that farmers have few legal options to resolve their debts with drug dealers.
Such issues are usually solved through a jirga. It is likely we will try to prohibit this practice,' he said. It can't happen overnight. It's a very sad situation. Production of opium reached record levels in Afghanistan in , the UN reports.
Common Sense for Drug Policy: Afghanistan Update
The situation has gotten so out of hand that the newly-elected Afghan government is considering an amnesty offer to traffickers. The Financial Times reported on Jan. If you're in the UK and you have the luxury of state institutions, you don't have to do this. But in Afghanistan you have to be pragmatic and consider different solutions given the precarious security situation, said Hanif Atmar, minister of rural rehabilitation and development.
One possibility was to offer to protect traffickers from prosecution if they put their ill-gotten gains to work in the countrys rehabilitation, he said. According to the FT, "Some western officials in Kabul expressed cautious support for the proposition on Monday but said discussions were at an early stage. The proposition was in keeping with the governments offer of amnesty to moderate members of the former Taliban regime they said. They warned that the practicalities of an amnesty - such as how it would be applied and towards whom - would be complicated and could run counter to other initiatives, such as the recent formation of a judicial task force to target high-profile traffickers.
Offering an olive branch to some traffickers while putting others in jail would send a mixed message, they said. But they are struggling to find a middle line between aggressive policies and outright war with the powerful druglords. Their drug industry was so intertwined with the provincial power structures as to be indistinguishable, he said. If money determines loyalty, then you have a problem here, he said.
The lines between a druglord and a warlord are [completely] blurred. One western security adviser who is familiar with drug policy called the idea insane.
Kill All the Poppies
What would they offer amnesty in exchange for? That they wouldn't do it again? A March conference in Berlin resulted in billions of dollars of pledges in aid for Afghanistan. Mr Ghani has described the pledge as very generous, and essential to help rebuild the war-ravaged nation. The UN is highly concerned about development efforts in Afghanistan. The Financial Times reported on March 29, "Afghan Economy 'At Risk Of Relying On Drug Trade'" , that the UN Development Program UNDP warns that "Afghanistan is in danger of reverting to an economy entirely dependent on the illegal drug trade and a "terrorist breeding ground" unless the international community significantly increases development funding to the war-torn country.
The report, obtained by the Financial Times, complains that "aid.
In comparison to other conflict or post-conflict situations, Afghanistan appears to have been neglected". The Afghan economy is in miserable condition, which makes it nearly impossible to contain the illicit drug trade. More than half the population live in extreme poverty, and only Sierre Leone ranks below Afghanistan on the UNDP's human development index. Life expectancy is below In Badakshan, northern Afghanistan, a maternal mortality rate of 6, per , is the "highest ever recorded in any part of the world", the report says.
The reliance on poppy production for drugs has become part of ordinary people's "coping strategy", especially as only 37 per cent of poppy-producing households are poor, compared with 54 per cent of those not involved in poppy production. Stopping Afghani production and trafficking of opium and heroin is someone else's responsibility, according to the commander of US forces in the Persian Gulf region, Gen. Tommy Franks.