Washington—U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), co-chairs of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, today released a bipartisan report, “Future U.S. Counternarcotics Efforts in Afghanistan,” which provides recommendations for Congress and the administration to counter illicit activities and corruption surrounding the Afghan drug trade.
The report’s recommendations have also been endorsed by Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), James Risch (R-Idaho) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).
“The Afghan drug trade funds the Taliban, fuels corruption and creates major public health challenges,” said Senator Feinstein. “Afghanistan could become a narco-state without an effective, comprehensive and coordinated counternarcotics strategy, coupled with unprecedented levels of international cooperation. If we don’t act, Afghanistan’s drug trade could undermine hard won gains and U.S. investments and threaten the safety of the citizens of Afghanistan and neighboring countries.”
“Opium production in Afghanistan has rapidly increased as the U.S. military presence has been reduced,” said Senator Grassley. “Our report outlines the critical need for the Obama administration to put plans in place now to support continuing counternarcotics efforts without the current level of security provided by the United States. The administration should provide Congress with a comprehensive, multi-agency, workable strategy before any more gains made over the past 13 years are lost.”
The report recommends that the United States:
- Work with the Afghan government to account for the inherent challenges that have previously stymied U.S. efforts to produce and implement a long-term, interagency counternarcotics strategy and develop goals and metrics to measure progress.
- Encourage additional countries to support counternarcotics programs in Afghanistan and provide resources to help better interdict narcotics leaving Afghanistan.
- Strengthen the rule of law in Afghanistan by developing an interagency anti-corruption strategy; providing training and support Afghan counternarcotics units vetted by the Drug Enforcement Agency; and expand the vetting process to include select members of the judicial sector.
- Ensure scarce resources are prioritized to support effective interdiction efforts over eradication and fund alternative livelihood programs that focus more intensely on non-farm income.
- Continue funding intelligence missions to disrupt drug-related criminal and insurgent activities, such the Afghan Threat Finance Cell.
- Continue implementing strategies and programs to prevent, reduce, and treat drug use in Afghanistan.