Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, August 10, 2007

U.S. counternarcotics plan for Afghanistan announced, expert opinion mixed

The United States government on Thursday announced a new counternarcotics program in an attempt to thwart Afghanistan’s growing opium trade, Reuters reported the same day.

The program will allot as much as $50 million to reward provinces that make significant progress against drugs. In addition to funding the drug program, the U.S. plans on promoting public education about the country’s opium problems and providing troops to aid Afghan forces who combat drug traffickers.

While praising some elements of the plan, analysts still anticipate the ‘carrot-and-stick’ approach will prove ineffective against the magnitude of both poppy production and government corruption in the country.

Analysts like Anthony Cordesman of Washington’s CSIS think tank predict that the plan will be unsuccessful. “It probably plays out very badly and that’s simply because Afghanistan is too unstable, too poor, and its officials are too corrupt.”

In a joint statement issued yesterday, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that the plan should focus more on immediate action against major drug traffickers.

For the full article, click here.

For the full text of the joint statement, click here.


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