On The Failures Of The War On Drugs: Afghanistan
The War on Drugs is failing, this is a simple fact. This US-led war has spanned the globe, and in every instance, failed to curb drug production, trafficking and use. This is no plainer to see than in the case of Afghanistan, where the last 13 years of war have created little progress, and cost the US billions of dollars, and the lives of innocent Afghan civilians.
A report from the US Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has recently been published outlining just how much of a colossal failure the War on Drugs in Afghanistan has been. According to the recent findings, “despite spending over $7 billion to combat opium poppy cultivation and to develop the Afghan government’s counternarcotics capacity, opium poppy cultivation levels in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013”.
This all-time high is roughly equal to 209,000 hectares. It accounts for 90% of the world’s heroin production, and beats the previous 2007 record of 193,000 hectares. Although shocking to many, it is not something we didn’t already know. The spiralling failures in Afghanistan have been documented for years, and things are not looking bright for the future either. It is easy to see why the War on Drugs made Afghanistan one of its main battlefields, but it is a war that has, if anything, made things worse through the destabilization it has caused throughout the region – fueling corruption and insurgency.
According to Justin Sopko, author of the report, “in the opinion of almost everyone I spoke with, the situation in Afghanistan is dire with little prospect for improvement in 2014 or beyond”. It comes as the US withdrawal deadline draws ever closer, and analysts report the growing influence and power of rural Afghan warlords.
What makes the situation worse, is that this war has become a very lucrative business for many - such as private military and security contractors, who have secured contracts with the US government to train troop and police in the region. One such contractor is the infamous Blackwater cooperation, who has pretty much been given free rein to do as it pleases, and hs been involved in many of the atrocities associated with the war.
It is a terrible situation, with every aspect of it stinking failure. If we needed another reason to end the war on drugs, the sheer futility of the war in Afghanistan, and the damage it has caused, would be it.