Afghan insurgency threatens to derail US anti-drug program
Yahoo News, November 16, 2006
WASHINGTON (AFP) -
Afghanistan's worsening security situation
threatens to derail a US anti-drug program, a congressional
study said, predicting at least a decade to stem the
The report by the
Government Accountability Office (GAO), a US
congressional watchdog agency, said "the deteriorating
security situation in Afghanistan threatens the success of
the US counternarcotics goal of significantly reducing
illicit drug cultivation, production, and trafficking."
There was "limited progress" in a US counternarcotics
strategy devised for Afghanistan by the US Agency for
International Development (USAID) and the State Department,
They received 532 million dollars in fiscal year 2005
funds and initiated a number of projects under the strategy,
but the opium poppy crop in 2006 grew by over 50 percent,
reaching a record amount, the GAO noted.
Afghanistan is the world's largest opium supplier, and
the drug trade is reportedly fueling the insurgency that
began weeks after the 2001 toppling of the Taliban-led
government by a US-led invasion.
The insurgency peaked this year with
NATO sending soldiers to quell the violence.
"The worsening security situation," particularly because
of the insurgency led by the Taliban militia, "threatens to
derail US efforts by slowing or stopping projects," GAO
Drug eradicators were attacked several times and
alternative livelihood project personnel were killed, the
"Given the difficulties of working in Afghanistan,
sustainable progress toward the US counternarcotics goal
will likely take a decade or more of committed US resources
and efforts," it said.
The report said the pace of US anti-drug efforts was
further slowed by the country's persistent developmental
challenges, including inadequate access to roads and limited