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conceptual mapping >  building peace  > Losing ground : drug control and war in Afghanistan

Transnational Institute (TNI)

Losing ground : drug control and war in Afghanistan

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> « Drugs & Conflict », Debate Papers n°15, December 2006, 36 p. (pdf)

The worsening armed conflict and the all-time record opium production in Afghanistan have caused a wave of panic. Calls are being made for robust military action by NATO forces to destroy the opium industry in southern Afghanistan. But intensifying a war on drugs in Afghanistan now would further fuel the conflict, which is the last thing that the country needs. This « Drugs & Conflict » briefing focuses on opium elimination efforts and the controversy about involving military forces in anti-drugs operations in Afghanistan. It also provides background on the Afghan drug control strategy, its new counter-narcotics law, and the role of Afghanistan within the global opiates market.

Silver bullets do not exist. Peace building, reconstruction and reducing the dependence on the opium economy will be long-term processes. Their success or otherwise will depend on improving the security situation, bringing about more stable governance and the rule of law, and strengthening the legal economy to provide alternative livelihood options.

A first line to draw is to keep NATO forces out of drug control operations. There is also a moral, political and economic case for having alternative livelihoods in place before commencing eradication. Afghanistan is coming under added pressure as a result of persistent drug control dogmas, but these need to be challenged if the further spread of insecurity and undermining of reconstruction efforts is to be avoided.

document de référence rédigé le : 1 December 2006

date of on-line publication : 21 March 2007

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