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U.S. COUNTERNARCOTICS POLICY IN AFGHANISTAN: TIME FOR LEADERSHIP
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
MARCH 17, 2005
Serial No. 10917
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/internationalrelations
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
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HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey,
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
RON PAUL, Texas
DARRELL ISSA, California
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
THADDEUS G. McCOTTER, Michigan
KATHERINE HARRIS, Florida
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJ. GRESHAM BARRETT, South Carolina
CONNIE MACK, Florida
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska
MICHAEL McCAUL, Texas
TED POE, Texas
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
BARBARA LEE, California
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
DIANE E. WATSON, California
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCADAM SMITH, Washington
BETTY McCOLLUM, Minnesota
BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
DENNIS A. CARDOZA, California
THOMAS E. MOONEY, SR., Staff Director/General Counsel
ROBERT R. KING, Democratic Staff Director
JOHN MACKEY, Investigative Counsel
JEAN CARROLL, Full Committee Hearing Coordinator
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Maureen E. Quinn, Coordinator on Afghanistan, U.S. Department of State
Ms. Mary Beth Long, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counternarcotics, U.S. Department of Defense
Michael A. Braun, Special Agent, Chief of Operations, Drug Enforcement Administration
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Honorable Maureen E. Quinn: Prepared statement
Ms. Mary Beth Long: Prepared statement
Michael A. Braun: Prepared statement
The Honorable Dan Burton, a Representative in Congress from the State of Indiana: Prepared statement
Mr. Alonzo Fulgham, Director, Office of South Asian Affairs, U.S. Agency for International Development: Prepared statement
Responses from Mr. Doug Wankel, Director of the Office of Drug Control for the American Embassy, to questions submitted for the record by the Honorable Henry J. Hyde, a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois, and Chairman, Committee on International Relations
Response from the Honorable Maureen E. Quinn to question submitted for the Record by the Honorable Ted Poe, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas
Responses from the Honorable Maureen E. Quinn to questions submitted for the Record by the Honorable Dana Rohrabacher, a Representative in Congress from the State of California
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Responses from Michael A. Braun to Questions Submitted for the Record by Members of the Committee on International Relations
U.S. COUNTERNARCOTICS POLICY IN AFGHANISTAN: TIME FOR LEADERSHIP
THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2005
House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:49 a.m. in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Henry J. Hyde (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Chairman HYDE. The meeting will come to order. Because today is an unusual day, we are going to accelerate our schedule so we can get as much testimony in as possible, so we are starting a little early.
I am pleased to call to order this hearing on the question of our counternarcotics policy in Afghanistan. The Committee on International Relations has long been troubled by the threat from the massive illicit drug production and narcotics trade in Afghanistan and the serious consequences for our national security should we fail to act. We ignore this crisis at our own grave peril.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Democratic governance and stability in Afghanistan, which we have worked so hard for, are threatened by the current drug situation. We need our Department of Defense to work cooperatively and coordinate with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the State Department to take on this threat of narco-terrorism. Otherwise, all our efforts amount to spinning our wheels.
We are familiar with the staggering data on opium and heroin production in Afghanistan today. For example, it produces 87 percent of the world's opium supply, which provides 500 metric tons of heroin annually. This is in excess of the world's demand for the most addictive, nearly untreatable, naturally produced illicit narcotic.
I could go on with the frightening statistics, but it is time to provide clarity, unity and leadership in United States-Afghan drug policy. The days of shouting ''the house is on fire'' are over. Much damage has already been done from the massive quantities of illicit Afghan drugs. The 239 percent increase in the poppy crop in 2004 estimated by the U.S. Government means we can delay serious action no longer. Now we need firemen on the scene to stem the spread of the flames and get this conflagration under control.
[Chart depicting information referred to follows:]
Chairman HYDE. I welcome the media reports yesterday of the helicopter raid by the new national interdiction police unit in Nangahar that seized two tons of opium. We have lost several years while the United States policy floundered in responding to the growing Afghan drug threat. I have often said: Time is not on our side, and a failed narco state is not beyond the realm of possibility.
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The democratically-elected Karzai Government realizes the magnitude of the threat and is committed to work with the U.S. and the world community to tackle the drug problem. I am very pleased to see the support we are receiving from our long-time and experienced friends in the Colombian National Police anti-drug unit. Their knowledge and their battle-hardened experience is already helping our DEA and the new Afghan counter-drug police with this crisis.
The U.S. Government has been AWOL too long in the fight against illicit drugs in Afghanistan, which is part of the same war against the same enemy that is global terrorism. As it is in the case of our unified campaign against the evils of drugs and terror in Colombia, we can prevail when we recognize these links and interrelationships.
Today, we will be exploring current United States efforts to counter the narcotics production and trade in Afghanistan through eradication and interdiction as well as alternative livelihoods and other means.
Illicit drug production threatens democratic governance in Afghanistan and severely compromises the safety and security of coalition forces on the ground, including many brave American soldiers who must face the new weapons and land mines these drugs finance.
While we will spend some time today talking about drug enforcement initiatives, we can't ignore the plight of the poor Afghan poppy farmers. Those who turn to this cash crop, which has an ever-ready market and ever-willing buyer, will need assistance to find an alternative livelihood.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today, I am announcing that I will soon be introducing a resolution calling on the Administration to come forward with an Afghan Reconstruction, Trade Promotion, and Economic Development proposal. I believe it will be instrumental in helping the legitimate Afghan economy gain access to world markets as well as attract investment from around the globe. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this new trade initiative modeled in part on the very successful Andean trade preference, which Congress renewed just recently and is counter-drug related.
I welcome the comments of my good friend, Mr. Lantos, the Ranking Democratic Member who has worked closely with us to find solutions and move forward together on the Afghan drug crisis. Mr. Lantos.
Mr. LANTOS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Before commenting on today's hearing, let me publicly express my appreciation to you for holding three extremely significant hearings this week: One on restructuring the United Nations, one on our new relationship with Libya, and today on this very important subject. And I look forward to working with you on your new Afghan legislative initiative.
Mr. Chairman, Afghanistan has made real progress toward becoming a stable, peaceful and democratic state. The Taliban has been forced from power. The national election last October was an unqualified success, with a massive turnout in defiance of Taliban threats. And progress has been made in restoring the basic human rights of Afghan women.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In my own congressional district the other day, at a public meeting, we had the pleasure of welcoming a young high school student from Afghanistan who already made significant contributions to our educational endeavors.
But Afghanistan is far from out of the woods. Progress in reconstruction and development, so necessary to bring economic opportunities and hope to millions, is painfully slow. The Parliamentary and district elections scheduled for next month, which are critical to institutionalize democracy throughout the country, have been postponed because of poor planning and inadequate preparations. And the biggest challenge of all to democracy and development is the unprecedented scale of opium and heroin cultivation and narco trafficking.
Last year, nearly 70 percent of the world's opium and heroin were produced in Afghanistan. Our State Department estimates that 40 to 60 percent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product comes from narcotics, an incredible figure.
Mr. Chairman, the situation in Afghanistan is dire. The flood of narcotics riches could become a tidal wave of corruption and criminality, washing away the still nascent Afghani experiment in democracy. The State Department's annual report on the global narcotic trade stated that, and I quote:
''Afghanistan is on the verge of becoming a narcotics state. Drug kingpins may well be in control of Afghanistan's Parliament by the end of this year, undermining everything that we have been trying to accomplish.''
Mr. Chairman, this Committee has been sounding the alarm about the exploding Afghan narcotics problem for the last 2 years. Sadly, our protestations have fallen on deaf ears down in Foggy Bottom and over in the Pentagon. Now, finally, the U.S. Government claims to have a counternarcotics strategy, but I fail to see the commitment and the actions to implement it.
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The failure of the United States to respond early and with full force is making the struggle longer, more expensive and more uncertain of victory. While there may be some progress on reducing poppy cultivation, it comes as a result of President Karzai's exhortations and the poppy-flooded market, not our own strategy.
In January, there was hope that there could be a 75 percent reduction in poppy cultivation this season in some provinces. The U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad recently told us that the reduction may be closer to 30 percent, probably a more realistic prediction. Unfortunately, this decline may be temporary. President Karzai has said that we have only 1 year to demonstrate real progress in providing alternatives to opium farming. If we fail, no one will listen to him, his Government, or us again, and the farmers will return to growing poppy at record levels.
I hope our witnesses today will convince us that everything humanly possible is being done by our Administration to heed President Karzai's warning and make tangible progress on alternatives to opium farming.
But reducing cultivation is only one side of the coin, Mr. Chairman. I see little progress in going after drug kingpins who finance the cultivation of poppy, operate the processing labs and sit atop tons of stored opium. The United States and the United Kingdom are finally beginning to provide some equipment and training to Afghan counternarcotics forces but not with the urgency or level of support the problem demands.
I am very disturbed to learn that the Department of Defense has not even been approving requests from the Drug Enforcement Agency and Afghan counternarcotics units for air support for interdiction missions.
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Mr. Chairman, either the United States is serious about victory over the narcotics trade in Afghanistanbefore it corrupts every election, every institution, every politicianor it is not.
I caution our witnesses not to assume this Committee will accept the mere presentation of a strategy or half measures to implement it as sufficient. This Committee must push the United States Government on this at every opportunity, and I hope this will be the first of several hearings on this issue this year.
I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you, Mr. Lantos.
I would like to welcome our distinguished witnesses. Ambassador Maureen Quinn is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, has served domestically and overseas with distinction. She joined the State Department's Bureau of South Asian Affairs as Coordinator on Afghanistan in 2004. Welcome.
From the Department of Defense, we have Ms. Mary Beth Long, who has held the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics since 2004. Ms. Long develops the Department's counternarcotics policy, managing over 100 programs that support counternarcotics programs of domestic and international law enforcement; and she oversees a budget in excess of $850 million.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Also with us today is Special Agent Michael Braun, the Chief of Operations of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who was appointed last month to be Principal Advisor to the DEA Administrator on all enforcement-related matters. One of Special Agent Braun's previous positions was as Interim Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Intelligence Fusion Center, the multiagency national drug intelligence center that supports the national drug strategy and our Nation's war on terrorism.
Welcome to you all.
Ambassador Quinn, if you could proceed with your testimony, I respectfully suggest you attempt to encapsulate it to about 5 minutes. We will not be harsh in the administration of that suggestion, but it is to also suggest that your full statement will be made a part of the record. Ambassador Quinn.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MAUREEN E. QUINN, COORDINATOR ON AFGHANISTAN, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Ms. QUINN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Lantos, Members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today about United States counternarcotics policy in Afghanistan.
I will make a brief oral statement and ask that my written statement be submitted for the record. Thank you.
The world has witnessed enormous strides toward security, democracy and new opportunities in Afghanistan in the past year. The United States has firmly supported that progress, and we cannot let narcotics undercut the enormous advances that Afghanistan has made. We recognize, however, that the narcotics problem is not new in Afghanistan. It is a problem that has its roots in a country that has suffered years of drought and war and where there has been minimal government and minimal rule of law for a very long time.
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We have an opportunity to address the narcotics problem in Afghanistan in 2005. The Government of Afghanistan is leading the way as President Karzai has challenged his people to end the growing of opium poppy. The Government of the United Kingdom is coordinating international counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan. The United States Government has committed to make a major effort to ensure that narcotics production and the drug trade do not undercut the new institution of government we are supporting and advancing in Afghanistan.
Chairman HYDE. Ambassador, we have just been notified there are three, maybe four votes to be dealt with on the Floor, so if you do not mind a little respite, we will run over and vote and hurry back. Thank you very much.
The Committee stands in recess subject to the call of the Chair.
Mr. ROHRABACHER [presiding]. All right. The State Department's worst nightmare, Rohrabacher has got the gavel.
It is Saint Patrick's Day today, so our hearts will fill with benevolence for all witnesses who come from Irish descent, and I bet that Quinn perhaps fits that category. Madam Ambassador, you may proceed with your testimony. Thank you very much.
Ms. QUINN. Thank you very much. I will proceed from where I left off.
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The people of Afghanistan have demonstrated in the past year that they are choosing the rule of law. In January 2004, Afghanistan adopted a new Constitution that ensures equal rights for all Afghan citizens. In October, more than 8 million Afghans, including 3.2 million women, turned out for the historic Presidential elections.
Demobilization, demilitarization and reintegration are progressing as former militias turn in their arms. New security institutions, such as the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police, are being trained and equipped. Afghanistan has made, and continues to make, enormous strides to organize a legitimate, market-based economy.
Finally, President Karzai has challenged the Afghan people to choose legitimate, legal economic activity, not opium poppy production.
While the political and economic environment in Afghanistan has improved, the narcotics situation has worsened, despite positive steps by the Government and the international community. Opium poppy production puts at risk the significant progress the country has made.
Addressing the problem is particularly challenging because Afghanistan still lacks an effective, transparent criminal justice system. Moreover, as a result of the profound disruption and destruction of normal life brought about by more than 25 years of conflict, the lack of legitimate income and the limited enforcement capacity of the national Government, many farmers have chosen to plant poppy to support themselves.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC President Karzai has committed himself and his Government to ensuring that Afghanistan does not become a narco state. On December 9, 2004, 2 days after his inauguration, President Karzai addressed a conference of Afghan religious and political leaders on the narcotics problem. At the conference, President Karzai called narcotics production in Afghanistan a disgrace. He said it was more threatening than terrorism or the Soviet invasion of 1979 and called for an anti-drug Jihad.
President Karzai backed up his words with actions. The Afghan Government has issued an eight-part counternarcotics plan focusing on institution building, public information, alternative livelihoods, interdiction and law enforcement, criminal justice, eradication, demand reduction and treatment, and regional cooperation.
We are guardedly optimistic that President Karzai's commitment may already be paying off.
The United States Government is also demonstrating strong leadership in support of Afghanistan's efforts to end narcotics production and trade. The Administration, in consultations with the United Kingdom, initiated work on a major effort to address the narcotics problem in early summer 2004. The Administration developed an approach that aims to reverse the tide of narcotics cultivation, processing and trade, and begins to combat the threat drugs pose to Afghanistan's stability and pursuit of democracy.
Our approach is a comprehensive, simultaneous, large-scale effort. The Administration has requested a total of $773.5 million to implement our counternarcotics program.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The U.S. counternarcotics program offers incentives through alternative livelihoods, combined with strong disincentives in the form of forced eradication, law enforcement and interdiction, while a robust public information campaign helps spread President Karzai's message about the disgrace of narcotics production. All of these United States efforts are intended to help build the Afghan Government's capacity to conduct counternarcotics efforts on its own. Our aim is to produce results in 2005 while we build Afghan capacity.
The United States is actively getting the message out on counternarcotics through the media and planned events. On alternative livelihoods, quick-impact programs have already employed approximately 18,000 people in Helmand and Nangarhar provinces. We have trained judges, prosecutors and police for the special counternarcotics judicial task force to promote law enforcement. The Afghan Special Narcotics Force is conducting major operations, and the intelligence fusion center is operational to support our interdiction goals. While the weather has delayed eradication, reconnaissance teams are in the field, and trained central poppy eradication teams are ready to deploy.
The British Government is the lead for the international community on counternarcotics in Afghanistan. The United Kingdom is assisting the Afghan Government in creating a Counternarcotics Trust Fund. Once established, that fund will proceed a central point for funneling international contributions for counternarcotics.
In conclusion, the narcotics problem is perhaps the greatest challenge facing Afghanistan today. Consequently, it is perhaps the greatest obstacle to our goal of seeing Afghanistan become a peaceful, prosperous country that never harbors terrorists like those who attacked the United States on September 11th.
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Although we have seen evidence of short-term success on counternarcotics in the past few months and may be hearing of more in the months to come, it is important that we not let up. This is a long-term problem that will require continued, focused attention by the Government of Afghanistan and the international community, including the United States.
We are very grateful for the assistance of Congress so far. With your continued support, we will see Afghanistan overcome this great challenge. Thank you.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much for your testimony.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Quinn follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MAUREEN E. QUINN, COORDINATOR ON AFGHANISTAN, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today about U.S. counternarcotics policy in Afghanistan.
The world has witnessed enormous strides towards security, democracy and new opportunities in Afghanistan in the past year. The United States has firmly supported that progress and we cannot let narcotics undercut the enormous advances that Afghanistan has made. We recognize, however, that the narcotics problem is not new in Afghanistan. It is a problem that has its roots in a country that has suffered years of drought and war, and where there has been minimal government and minimal rule of law for a very long time.
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We have an opportunity to address the narcotics problem in Afghanistan in 2005. The Government of Afghanistan is leading the way as President Karzai has challenged the Afghan people to end the growing of opium poppy. The Government of the United Kingdom is coordinating international counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan and seeking financial contributions from other members of the international community to Afghanistan's new counternarcotics trust fund. The U.S. government has committed to a major, comprehensive effort to ensure that narcotics production and the drug trade do not undercut the new institutions of government and the democracy we are supporting and advancing in Afghanistan. Our five-pillar plan, covering public information, alternative livelihoods, law enforcement, interdiction, and eradication, recognizes the need for a balanced, comprehensive approach among all of these components.
We need to see the problem of narcotics in the context of Afghanistan today, recognize that it is a difficult problem with a long history, and demonstrate our leadership in addressing the problem with the Government of Afghanistan, and with the Government of the United Kingdom and others in the international community fighting this battle.
The people of Afghanistan have demonstrated in the past year that they are choosing the rule of law. In January 2004 Afghanistan adopted a new constitution that includes strong provisions for human rights, ensures equal rights for all Afghan citizens, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or faith, and outlines a democratic government with executive, legislative, and judicial bodies. In October 2004, despite threats and attacks before the vote and serious logistical challenges, more than 8 million Afghansincluding more than 3.2 million womencast ballots to choose their leader in a truly democratic and peaceful election for the first time. President Karzai was sworn in on December 7 during a solemn inauguration ceremony in Kabul. Shortly thereafter, Karzai appointed a new cabinet, including the selection of a new cabinet-level counternarcotics minister.
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While Afghanistan is still a dangerous place, the number of violent incidents has decreased markedly throughout the country since the elections. Demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration are progressing as former militias turn in their arms. New security institutions, such as the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police, are being trained and equipped.
Afghanistan has made, and continues to make, enormous strides in organizing a legitimate, market-based economy. From the ruins of two decades of conflict, Afghanistan's leaders have steadily advanced economic policy, implementing a stable new currency in 2002, passing a strong banking law in 2003, and adopting an overall national development strategy that recognizes the need to work toward sustainability by limiting spending and boosting revenues, including enhanced customs enforcement.
In addition, U.S. reconstruction efforts have focused on rebuilding the country's shattered road network, construction and rehabilitation of schools and health clinics, teacher training and maternal-child basic health care, agricultural extension and irrigation projects, and economic governance initiatives.
Finally, President Karzai has challenged the Afghan people to choose legitimate, legal economic activity, not opium poppy production.
THE DRUG PROBLEM IN AFGHANISTAN
While the political and economic environment in Afghanistan has improved, the narcotics situation has worsened, despite positive steps by the government and the international community. Opium poppy production puts at risk the significant progress the country has made. The area devoted to poppy cultivation in Afghanistan in 2004 reached a record high of 206,700 hectares, more than three times the area devoted to poppy in 2003.
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The IMF estimates that drug revenue in Afghanistan is equivalent to about 60 percent of the country's legitimate economy. Afghanistan remains a significant location of the cultivation, refining, and transit of all forms of unrefined opium, refined heroin, and semi-refined (morphine base) opiates. Heroin processing and trafficking reached about $2.8 billion in 2004, according to UN estimates.
Narcotics cultivation and trafficking is a corrupting influence on the Afghan government at virtually all levels and stunts the growth of the country's legitimate economy. Addressing the problem is particularly challenging because Afghanistan still lacks an effective, transparent criminal justice system. Judges are not yet well-trained, and many are unfamiliar with current legal developments, including the precepts of the constitution enacted in 2004. The corrections system is underdeveloped and prison facilities are overcrowded.
Moreover, as a result of the profound destruction and disruption of normal life brought about by more than 25 years of conflict, the lack of legitimate income streams, and the limited enforcement capacity of the national government, many farmers have chosen to plant poppy to support themselves.
LEADERSHIP ON COUNTERNARCOTICS
President Karzai has committed himself and his government to ensuring that Afghanistan does not become a narco-state.
On December 9, 2004two days after his inaugurationPresident Karzai addressed a conference of Afghan religious and political leaders whom he had called together in Kabul to discuss the narcotics problem. At the conference, Karzai called narcotics production in Afghanistan ''a disgrace.'' He said it was more threatening than terrorism or the Soviet invasion of 1979, and called for an anti-drug ''jihad.''
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President Karzai backed up his words with actions, appointing a cabinet-level minister for counternarcotics and creating a sub-cabinet interagency working group. The working group includes the key Ministries of Counternarcotics, Interior, Finance, and Rural Development, among others, to ensure a government-wide and countrywide effort. The Afghan government subsequently issued an eight-part counternarcotics plan focusing on institution-building, public information, alternative livelihoods, interdiction and law enforcement, criminal justice, eradication, demand reduction and treatment, and regional cooperation.
In addition to the new Ministry of Counternarcotics, the Government of Afghanistan has also taken other measures to address the problem of counternarcotics throughout 2004. A Central Poppy Eradication Force was established in April 2004 to carry out centrally directed, forced eradication across the country. In October 2004, the National Interdiction Unit, a special interdiction force being trained by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, was created under the existing Counternarcotics Police. In November 2004, the position of Deputy Minister for Counternarcotics was created in the Ministry of Interior to oversee counternarcotics enforcement activities.
We are guardedly optimistic that President Karzai's commitment may already be paying off. In recent months we have received anecdotal reports that poppy production is down this growing season. The Afghan Central Poppy Eradication Force, with U.S. and UK advice, has organized to conduct ground eradication of poppy crops. We have also received reports that Afghan provincial officials have been engaged in additional eradication efforts. Afghan verification teams have deployed to the provinces; they will complete rapid assessment of the level of cultivation and monitor provincial eradication efforts.
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Alternative livelihood programs are also underway, to provide assistance for those choosing not to participate in the poppy economy, and to reinforce the effects of eradication in turning farmers from the cultivation of illicit poppy. U.S. programs are focusing on up to seven provinces that have the most poppy cultivation. Other nations, including the United Kingdom, are particularly interested in alternative livelihood programs and are supporting programs in these and other provinces.
The U.S. government is also demonstrating strong leadership in support for Afghanistan's efforts to end narcotics production and trade. The Administration, recognizing the growing seriousness of the problem and in consultations with the United Kingdom, initiated work on a major effort to address the narcotics problem in early summer 2004. The Administration developed an approach that aims to reverse the tide of narcotics cultivation, processing, and trade, and to begin to combat the threat it poses to Afghan stability and Afghanistan's pursuit of democracy. Our approach is a comprehensive, simultaneous, large-scale effort that includes changing public attitudes, identifying and prosecuting drug traffickers and corrupt officials, destroying illicit crops, opiates, and processing labs, and creating legitimate income streams.
The Administration has requested a total of $773.5 million in FY 2005 supplemental funding to implement our counternarcotics program in 2005 in Afghanistan.
U.S. counternarcotics programming is set out in a five-pillar plan that offers incentives through alternative livelihoods, combined with strong disincentives in the form of forced eradication, law enforcement, and interdiction, while a robust public information campaign helps spread President Karzai's message about the disgrace of narcotics production. All of these U.S. anti-drug efforts are intended to simultaneously produce results while building the Afghan government's capacity to conduct counternarcotics efforts on its own.
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To get the message out on counternarcotics, the United States is actively supporting the spread of President Karzai's counternarcotics message to the provinces through the media and planned events. On alternative livelihoods, quick-impact programs have already employed over 17,000 people in Helmand and Nangarhar provinces. The United Kingdom has played a strong role in this as well. We have trained judges, prosecutors, and police for the special prosecutorial counternarcotics task force to promote effective law enforcement and judicial capacity. The Department of Justice, through its senior U.S. prosecutors in Kabul, has provided advice and assistance in the drafting of new money laundering, asset forfeiture, and narcotics laws, and on extradition. The UK-trained Afghan Special Narcotics Force is conducting major operations, and the Combined Forces Command intelligence fusion center is operational to support our interdiction goals. While the weather has delayed eradication, reconnaissance teams are in the field and trained Central Poppy Eradication teams are ready to deploy.
The British Government is the lead government for the international community on counternarcotics in Afghanistan. The British are contributing a total of $100 million in 2005, with half of that going toward alternative livelihood programs.
The UK is assisting the Afghan government in creating a Counter Narcotics Trust Fund. Once established, the fund will provide a central point for funneling international contributions for counternarcotics and will ease coordination and deconfliction of programs. It will also help Afghanistan keep better track of donations. The fund will allow donors to earmark contributions for either alternative livelihood or law enforcement programs.
Following up on its efforts to establish the fund, the British government last month conducted an international lobbying effort to encourage trust fund contributions. As a result of that effort, several nations have already indicated that they will contribute through the fund or otherwise increase counternarcotics donations to Afghanistan.
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The narcotics problem is perhaps the greatest challenge facing Afghanistan today. Consequently, it is perhaps the greatest obstacle to our goal of seeing Afghanistan become a peaceful, prosperous country that never again harbors terrorists like those who attacked us on September 11.
Although we have seen some evidence of short-term success on counternarcotics in the past few months, it is important that we not let up. This is a long-term problem that will require continued, focused attention by the Afghan government and the international community, including the United States. The Afghan Government, under President Karzai's leadership, has made a strong commitment to fight drugs and deserves our support. We are grateful for Congress's assistance so far, and with your continued support, we will see Afghanistan overcome this great challenge.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Now Ms. Long from the Department of Defense.
STATEMENT OF MS. MARY BETH LONG, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR COUNTERNARCOTICS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Ms. LONG. Thank you, Chairman Hyde, Representative Lantos and distinguished Members of the Committee.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Rohrabacher, too.
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Ms. LONG. Thank you, and you, sir. And happy St. Patrick's day to you.
I am accompanied by Brigadier General Jeff Remington from the Joint Staff. I have a statement I would like to offer for the record and a few comments that I would like to make with your permission, sir.
I am aware of the calls for United States military and coalition forces to adopt a more aggressive approach to combating Afghan narcotics networks. In the last year, the Department's contributions to those have been significant. Every day our military continues its critical mission efforts to secure Afghanistan against counterterrorists and counterinsurgents, and those efforts were critical to bringing us safe and secure Afghan elections as well as its newly minted democratic Government.
In the last year in Afghanistan, the United States forces have been authorized to conduct military operations against drug trafficking and target those traffickers in the course of their support for the stability mission. If our forces come across drugs or drug-producing equipment, they are authorized to take action. They are also to report all drug-related discoveries. Since July 14, 2004, there have been 19 reported instances of United States military forces encountering opium or other drugs and either destroying or transporting those drugs to the appropriate Afghan authorities. These efforts have resulted in the destruction or the disposition of nearly 4,000 kilograms of hashish, 2,500 kilograms of opium and nearly 20 kilograms of machined heroin.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition, just 2 days ago, on Tuesday, March 15, United States military forces inserted, provided security, and extracted 6 drug enforcement agents and 36 Afghan narcotics agents into a successful operation targeting three opium labs in Nangarhar province, one of the primary sources of opium. This operation produced a significant amount of evidence for the DEA and enabled the destruction of nearly 2 tons of brown opium, 15 kilos of high-grade white opium, as well as over 30 barrels and other associated chemicals. United States military support to these operations included one Apache helicopter, a Blackhawk helicopter, and two DoD-contracted counternarcotics MI18 helicopters. In addition, the Department trained and fully equipped the 36 Afghan counternarcotics police, 2 of which I am proud to say were women.
But support to Afghan interdiction operations is just one of the elements of the Department's counternarcotics plan, which is focused on building government or Afghan counternarcotics capabilities. As part of the United States' integrated interagency counternarcotics strategy, we are helping the Afghans establish a public affairs capacity that both reaches out to the Afghan citizens but also seeks to coordinate and integrate the Government of Afghan officials' messaging on counterdrug targets. This effort is designed to complement the heroic and historic public statements made by President Karzai shortly after his inauguration.
We are also assisting in the development of Afghan law enforcement capacity, including border security forces and the highway police. Working closely with the Department of State, we assist in providing the Afghan border police with specialized training, equipment and facilities. Our current efforts have focused on the border of Pakistan, as a significant amount of the narcotics cross that border. This, of course, is also the general area of Department of Defense counterterrorism and counterinsurgent operations. We are also improving the borders with Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, where narcotics flow.
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In addition to the 36 counternarcotics police that I mentioned earlier, the Department provided the specialized training and equipping of the approximately 70 other police who perform this function. This force will work closely with our sister agency, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and their FAST advisory teams which will soon be rotating into Afghanistan.
The Department trained the FAST teams and will be providing them with transportation in country. We are also providing the DEA FAST with extensive support, including bases of operation both here and in Afghanistan.
The Department offers some support to the United Kingdom-trained Afghan interdiction force, the Afghan Special Narcotics Police. The success of this force is a tribute to the United Kingdom's excellent work with the Afghans. Since last summer, the ASNF has seized and destroyed no less than approximately 81 metric tons of opium, 70 heroin labs and 28 metric tons of precursor chemicals. The Department has provided them with intelligence assets and intelligence packages that were developed in part by CFC Alpha.
To support future operations of this force, in conjunction with DEA and the Afghan counternarcotics police, U.S. Central Command believes that it may be able to support four or more interdiction missions per month, when its counterterrorism and counterinsurgency missions permit. In the long term, however, these interdiction forces will need dedicated organic ability to extend their reach for transportation and flexibility.
Finally, the Department is working to build the counternarcotic capacity of border nations. This support will not only directly enhance the capability of the Afghans at borders but will also bolster efforts of these border nations to stop the flow of drugs from Afghanistan.
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Narcotics trafficking not only poses challenges to our efforts to defeat extremists and terrorist forces, but it is a threat to the stability and security of the Afghan Government, the security of the United States, and to the region.
President Karzai's leadership and commitment to the narcotic fight have been and will remain critical to coalition efforts in Afghanistan. But all United States counterdrug efforts must be part of an integrated U.S. campaign strategy with each of these partner agencies effectively executing its role in furtherance of his overall Afghan policy.
Interdiction without a working judicial system or the means of holding drug offenders, eradication without the means of providing Afghans with a meaningful way to feed their families, or lack of the appropriate leadership and training for Afghan security forces, including police, are all potentially destabilizing factors.
Moreover, additional international support is needed. Those nations that provide ready markets for Afghan opium should contribute to this worthy and necessary effort. Our collective continued support to the Afghan Government and the people that it represents is critical.
On behalf of the Department, I would like to extend my appreciation, sir, for your continued support to our programs and to the Department. I would like to thank you, Representative Rohrabacher, Representative Lantos and Chairman Hyde for allowing me this opportunity; and I welcome any questions. Thank you. Sir.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Long follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MS. MARY BETH LONG, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR COUNTERNARCOTICS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Chairman Hyde, Representative Lantos, and distinguished Members of the Committee, it is my honor to appear before you today to discuss the problem of opium and other narcotic trafficking in Afghanistan, and our approach to defeat this problem. I am accompanied today by Brigadier General Jeffrey Remington from the Joint Staff. The Department appreciates the support Congress has provided to respond to this challenge. It is critical to our effort to address the drug trade problem in Afghanistan. We thank you for the opportunity to be here today.
As you know, since Coalition forces evicted the Taliban in December 2001, the primary mission of US military forces in Afghanistan has been to defeat terrorists and an insurgencybeing waged by Al Qaeda, the Taliban leadership, Hezb-i Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), and other anti-coalition and anti-government forces. In the ensuing years as part of this critical mission, we have worked with the Afghans to recruit, train, organize, equip, and employ effective security forces; to accelerate disarmament, to demobilize and reintegrate formerly hostile elements; and to establish control over their borders. In addition, Coalition and US forces have assisted the Afghans in developing important political and economic infrastructure, including government institutions capable of supporting the free, representative government that the Afghan people deserve. These efforts continue today. A true measure of our progress is the success of Afghanistan's first presidential election just about six months ago, in which over 8 million people voted (including Afghanistan's women) with virtually no incidents of violence on voting day.
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The drug problem in Afghanistan, however, could endanger much of the progress already made, and many of the ongoing efforts by Coalition forces, our allies and the Afghans. Afghanistan is the world's leading source of heroin, supplying mostly regional markets, Europe, and Russia. According to the United Nations, Afghanistan was responsible for 87% of the world's illicit opium production in 2004.
There are two fundamentals about any plan designed to address the problem of drug trafficking and the drug trade networks in Afghanistan. First, that plan must be one that is endorsed and led by the Afghans themselves. And second, the plan must be one that nests within the USG's overall strategic goals in that it recognizes the impact the drug trade has on our other policy objectives, while complimenting (and not competing with) our other efforts in furtherance of those objectives.
President Karzai's aggressive leadership and public commitment to the narcotics fight is impressive. Shortly after his inauguration, President Karzai conducted a two day National Conference on Counternarcotics for Afghan provincial governors, police chiefs, elders, tribal leaders, as well as members of the international community. During the conference, President Karzai declared to his provincial governors that the scourge of drug trafficking in Afghanistan was worse than the Soviet invasion, and that the jihad against this vile threat was analogous to the Afghan's jihad against the Soviets. Since that motivational effort by President Karzai and his officers, the Kabul Embassy has received reports of significantly reduced poppy cultivation and Afghan eradication efforts in support of President's heroic public stand. Our continued support to President Karzai's policy is important and must be the core of the USG's counternarcotics plan.
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This past year, our Ambassador in Kabul, in coordination with State Department, the Department of Justice, USAID, the Department of Defense, and other interagency participants, developed a five-pronged counternarcotics plan that nests this effort within the Administration's overall Afghanistan campaign plan. In this manner, the plan compliments the interagency's other policy efforts, including those addressing reconstruction and economic development, warlordism, continued security and stability issues, and other areas of concern. The key elements of the interagency counternarcotics plan are (1) public information, (2) alternative livelihoods, (3) law enforcement, (4) interdiction, and (5) eradication. This interagency plan has been coordinated and integrated with the United Kingdom's counternarcotics plan and compliments that developed by the Government of Afghanistan.
To deal with the drug trade problem successfully, it is necessary that all these key elements move forward. I am aware of calls for the US military and Coalition forces to adopt a more aggressive approach against Afghan narcotics networks. A counternarcotics effort that does not take into account political and economic realities may, however, have unintended consequences for both Coalition Forces and the Government of Afghanistan. In addition, interdiction without authority and the means by which to prosecute drug offenders; eradication without the means of providing Afghans a way to feed their families; lack of appropriate leadership and training for security forces and policeare all potential destabilizing factors to a newly democratic nation. The Department of Defenseand its sister agencies involved in this counternarcotics efforteach play an important role in executing this plan.
THE DEPARTMENT'S FOCUS AND MILITARY ACTION
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The Department of Defense focus is to build the Afghan government's capacity to combat this problem and to coordinate those efforts with the United Kingdom, as lead nation. We believe that, whenever possible, our military efforts should support the Afghans or law enforcement efforts against this difficult problem. In the last year, the Department's contributions to this plan have been significant.
In Afghanistan, US troops are authorized to conduct military operations against drug trafficking targets when those military operations support our stability mission in Afghanistan. If our troops come across drugs or drug producing equipment during the conduct of other military operations, they are authorized to take action against these targets and report all drug related discoveries. Since July 14, 2004, there have been 19 reported instances of US military forces encountering drugs in the course of military operations and either destroying or transferring the drugs to the appropriate Afghan authorities; nine of those instances were in January 2005.
More recently, on March 15, US military forces provided insertion, extraction and security support to six Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officers and 36 Afghan narcotics police in a successful operation against three labs located in Nangahar province, one of the primary sources of Afghan opium. Significantly, DEA officers, US military forces and Afghan police planned, rehearsed and, finally, successfully executed this effort resulting in significant evidence collection by the DEA and the destruction of two metric tons of brown opium, 15 kilos of high-grade white opium, as well as associated chemicals. The 36 Afghan narcotics police were equipped and trained using Department contractors and funds. In addition, US military support included Apache, Blackhawk and MI8 helicopters. This is just one example of the evolving partnership between the Department and DEA toward developing effective interdiction capabilities.
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PUBLIC INFORMATION SUPPORT
Reliable public information supportive of President Karzai's anti-drug policies is a critical element of the interagency drug plan. Informing the Afghan population and ensuring their support is challenging due to the low literacy rate of the general public and the absence of sufficient communications infrastructure. At the request of the Department of State INL, the Department early on began to assist the Ministry of Interior (MoI) in establishing a public affairs capability that not only reaches out to its citizenry, but coordinates and instructs government officials on anti-drug messaging. We developed, in coordination with the Minister, a plan to build an office with the capacity to prepare and transmit counternarcotics messages via public fora or media events and to arrange formal and informal settings for the Afghan leadership to discuss the gravity of the drug threat and how to address it.
Several Afghans within the Ministry of Interior, including one woman, are receiving public affairs training. This Department effort was instrumental in developing the messages for and in hosting the National Conference on Counternarcoticsthe first major event following President Karzai's inauguration. With Embassy concurrence, we will continue this effort into Fiscal Year 2005, and coordinate it with INL's Embassy-based proposed public affairs activities and materials.
SUPPORT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT CAPACITY BUILDING
A second essential element of the plan is the development of an Afghan law enforcement capacity, and a key component of that capacity is border security. The Department, in support of INL, is assisting the Afghan Border Police by providing specialized training, equipment, and facilities. Our current efforts have focused along the areas bordering Pakistan as a significant amount of narcotics trafficking from Afghanistan crosses that border. Increased security capacity along the Pakistan border also will benefit Coalition forces and the Afghan government by providing a means by which cross border violence from extremist and anti-government forces can be addressed. And the government of Afghanistan would benefit greatly from the capacity to collect revenue during traffic stops along these same routes.
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As for facilities, the US Army Corps of Engineers will oversee the construction of brigade, battalion, and company headquarters facilities. In Fiscal Year 2004 the ground work was laid for construction of two facilities for the Border Police in Kandahar and Paktika. In Fiscal Year 2005, we will build upon these efforts with 11 additional facilities. These will provide a base of operations from which the Border Police can interdict drugs moving to Pakistan, and, importantly, provide a central government presence in a previously ungoverned area.
Elsewhere at other major crossing points, we are assisting the Government of Afghanistan to improve border drug transit points along routes to Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. In Fiscal Year 2004, we began construction of a border checkpoint at Spin Boldak. In Fiscal Year 2005, we will construct and/or improve 8 additional border checkpoints. We will also support a transitional border unit at Islam Qala, Herat, while the assigned border unit has completed its formal training, and has been fully equipped.
As for equipment, because Border Police will operate in an often hostile environment where heavily armed traffickers or militants are found, they often need equipment beyond the requirements of normal policemen. In Fiscal Year 2004 CFCA oversaw the issuance of equipment such as vests and cold/wet weather gear. The Department also provided limited quantities of Global Positioning Systems. In Fiscal Year 2005, we plan to provide additional drug detection equipment, boots, cold/wet weather gear, and other gear to the Border Police.
In addition, the Department is providing a communications system for the Border Police that will link them with the existing National Police communications systemprocured through Department of State fundsthat will extend from the command to the tactical level. Training on the use of the radios and some instruction on minor repair will also be included with the delivery of the equipment. Finally, small unit and tactical training will enable the Border Police forces to operate as an effective team against potential foes.
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Away from the borders, the Defense Department will improve or construct police facilities and other infrastructure for the National Police in provinces stretching south along the Pakistan border from Nangahar to Nimruz. The Defense Department also will supplement existing personal equipment provided to the National Police in these provinces. All of the police units have some counternarcotics role.
The National Highway Police will be responsible for interdicting drugs on Afghan highways and major transit routes. Even along major roads, there is little infrastructure to support basic law enforcement but these few highways provide a quick trafficking route for narcotics and other illicit goods. In Fiscal Year 2004, we began the construction process of building facilities for the Highway Police stretching from Kabul south and west toward Kandahar along the Ring Road. In Fiscal Year 2005, we will continue this effort by building 10 National Highway Police facilities along the Ring Road west and north towards Herat. Facilities for the Highway Police will also be constructed along the key route from Kabul east towards the Border checkpoint at Torkham. These facilities will allow for a greater law enforcement presence, improved security, and reduced drug trafficking along these major routes.
SUPPORT TO INTERDICTION EFFORTS
Expanding Afghan interdiction capabilities so that its operations can result in criminal prosecutions is vital to a successful program. Using Fiscal Year 2004 funding, the Department, in support of law enforcement, funded the ongoing training and equipping of a specialized National Interdiction Unit (NIU), an element of the Afghan Counternarcotics Police. This unit currently consists of approximately one hundred trained officers and will work closely with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The training provided includes self defense, searches and entry into defended buildings, evidence handling, small unit tactics, marksmanship, close quarters combat, and human rights. DoD also will provide advanced medical, intelligence, and communications training to selected personnel within this unit, which will assist the force to be self sustaining. We are constructing a base of operations that will provide spaces for billeting, eating, and additional training of these officers.
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To work with this newly-minted Afghan interdiction force, DEA requested DoD to provide support to an enhanced, surge capability that will put rotating teams of DEA agents in country to work with their Afghan counterparts. The assistance provided by the Department includes field training at Fort Benning of team members, known as the DEA Foreign Advisory Support Teams (FAST) officers. In addition, in only a few weeks, DoD will transport the first DEA FAST team to Afghanistan to continue to train and mentor the NIU. The Department also is providing a base of operations for the Teams while in the US, where they can continue to train, and is providing the FAST Team members with transportation to Afghanistan. CFCA will support this element with some transportation support, and in-extremis close air support and emergency medical evacuation, if needed.
Conducting interdiction operations by using ground vehicles has proven to be somewhat impractical and also subjects the missions to compromise. In the near term, interdiction forces, including those working with the DEA and the United Kingdom-trained forces, may receive some tactical lift from DoD, using a mix of UH60 Blackhawk helicopters and leased MI8s. US Central Command currently believes that it may be able to support four (or more) operations per month. These missions will be weighed against priority counterterrorism and counterinsurgency missions, and will require close planning, coordination and flexibility among CFCA, the NIU and TF333. Ultimately, the level of support will be the call of the Commander and the Ambassador on the ground as they are leading the fight.
In addition to this support, the Department has leased two MI8 helos for use by interdiction forces and Afghan police. These craft were used most recently in the March 15th joint DEA-Afghan NIU operation supported by US military forces. The Defense Department also is in the process of refurbishing two Afghan-owned helicopters. It is prepared to refurbish up to six additional helicopters for use by the Afghan police by Fiscal Year 2006. The helicopters will be used to form an Afghan police transportation unit for the interdiction force and other police actions. A training program to build the pilot, maintenance capacity and base of operations will be provided with Department funding and support. While pilots and maintenance crews are being trained, we have budgeted for contractors to provide this service.
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The Department also provides limited support to the United Kingdom-trained Afghan interdiction forcethe Afghan Special Narcotics Police (ASNF). The success of this force is a tribute the United Kingdom's excellent work with the Afghans. Since last Summer, the ASNF has seized and destroyed no less than approximately 81 metric tons of opium, 70 heroin labs, and 28 metric tons of precursor chemicals. They have detained numerous drug traffickers. The UK's contributions in other areas of counter-drug efforts have been no less significantit has significantly increased its contributions to Alternative Livelihood programs offered to cultivatorsand the Department is pleased to be working with our UK counterparts in close coordination of our efforts and plans. DoD has contributed where it can by providing close air security support and some equipment. Thus far this year, US military forces have transported the ASNF to Kandahar for recent interdiction operations, has provided access to a predator and intelligence support for interdiction operations, and plans are underway to construct a forward Operating Base (FOB) near Khandahar. In coordination with the UK, we also will continue to provide the ASNF with some equipment, including night vision goggles. In addition, DoD is financing the refurbishment of an additional MI8 helicopter to compliment the UK refurbished MI8s used by this force.
To improve the flow of information between intelligence and law enforcement organizations, the Defense Department is establishing counter-narcoterrorism Intelligence Fusion Centers (IFCs) within Combined Forces CoalitionAfghanistan (CFCA) and the Afghan Ministry of Interior. Thus far, intelligence packages developed, at least in part, by the CFCA cell have been used in several successful Afghan interdiction operations, including those of the ASNF. The cell is working closely with other USG agencies, such as DoS and DEA, as well as our UK partners. The Afghan Intelligence Fusion Center will not only house counternarcotics information in support of interdictions and prosecutions, but will support police operations against insurgent and other illicit activities. This database will be the first step in reconstructing Afghanistan's criminal justice records, which were destroyed by the last two decades of war. In Fiscal Year 2005, we will continue to support this effort and expand its capability.
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REGIONAL EFFORTS SUPPORTED BY THE DEPARTMENT
In addition to DoD counternarcotics support directly to Afghanistan, we support regional efforts with bordering nations. Department efforts in Uzbekistan include constructing three maritime patrol bases located along the Amu Darya River bordering Afghanistan to support interdiction operations along that river. We also are constructing a police Special Investigative Unit Headquarters in Uzbekistan. That force will work closely with the DEA. As for maritime interdiction support, we are currently reviewing a concept to provide boats, radio equipment, facilities, etc for a dhow tracking system along the Makran coast in Pakistan. Last year, an interdiction operation in this area of a vessel linked to Al Qaeda supporters resulted in a drug seizure. More recently, the US Navy, under the direction of NAVCENT, interdicted a significant drug shipment in the same general area. We are installing a maritime communications surveillance system for Oman which will improve the coastal patrolling capabilities or their Coast Guard and interoperability with coalition naval forces. Finally, DoD will provide some training and equipment for anti-drug forces in Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan in support of a regional counternarcotics plan currently under review by our Central Command.
To accomplish these goals, the Department has requested $257 million in supplemental funding to continue counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan. This is in addition to $15.4 million currently budgeted in Fiscal Year 2005 for counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan and the surrounding region. Because of the urgency of this problem, we have initiated some activities using $70 million from existing fourth quarter funds dedicated to other counternarcotics programs in other parts of the world. This funding will be put back into those accounts once the supplemental is approved by Congress.
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To ensure the effective use of these funds, the Department also requested a modification to existing Section 1033 authority, which allows for the provision of equipment and supplies to build partner nation counternarcotics capabilities. This modified provision seeks an increase in the yearly authorized funding caps and the ability to provide a wider array of equipment, including weapons, to Afghan counternarcotics forces.
But the Department's support to interdiction efforts, and its efforts to build Afghan counter-drug capacity, are not enough. Without facilities to hold detained drug offenders and others; and a civil justice system in which to prosecute them; and viable economic alternatives to the drug trade, there are severe limits to the impact of the Department's efforts. Additional attention and resources must be dedicated to these issues. Narcotics trafficking not only poses challenges to our efforts to defeat extremist and terrorist forces; it also is a threat to the stability and legitimacy of the Afghan government. While President Karzai's aggressive leadership and commitment to the narcotics fight has been, and will remain, crucial to the Coalition effort in Afghanistan, additional international support is needed. Those nations that provide ready markets for Afghan opium should contribute to this worthy, and necessary, effort. Our collective continued support to the Afghan governmentand to the people it representsis critical.
On behalf of the Department, I appreciate your continued support of our counter-narcotics initiatives in Afghanistan. By your support of our activities, as well as the funding and authorities you provide, you are our ally in this fight against narcoterrorism. I would like to thank you, Chairman Hyde, Representative Lantos, and the Members of the Committee for the opportunity to discuss these issues with you. I look forward to answering your questions.
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Mr. ROHRABACHER. We will have our last witness, then go into some questions and answers.
We have Special Agent Braun from the Drug Enforcement Administration, and you may proceed.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL A. BRAUN, SPECIAL AGENT, CHIEF OF OPERATIONS, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
Mr. BRAUN. Chairman Hyde, Mr. Rohrabacher and distinguished Members of the Committee on International Relations, on behalf of Administrator Karen P. Tandy, I appreciate your invitation to testify regarding the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's efforts in Afghanistan.
The DEA is keenly aware that the continued production of opium in Afghanistan is a significant threat to Afghanistan's future and the entire region's stability. It also could have worldwide implications. In response to this threat, the DEA has undertaken an aggressive approach to combat the production of opium in Afghanistan, and we are making progress.
I would like to take this opportunity to announce that, on March 15, the DEA's Kabul country office, along with the DEA and DoD-trained counternarcotics police, Afghanistan, and the National Interdiction Unit executed its first operation on a clandestine laboratory complex. Our U.S. military support was vital to the success of this operation.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This mission in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province led to the seizure of three fully operational clandestine heroin labs, approximately 2,200 kilograms of opium, 15 pounds of heroin and hundreds of pounds of chemicals. This operation and the other operations we are involved in are not possible without the assistance and cooperation of our U.S. Government counterparts, both law enforcement and nonlaw enforcement agencies, as well as our foreign partners.
With respect to DEA's response to the eight-pillar plan, we have joined with coalition partners, the State Department and the Department of Defense, in the U.S. Embassy Kabul Counternarcotics Implementation Plan. This eight-pillar plan provides the DEA opportunities, as never before, to reduce heroin production in Afghanistan and contribute to the stabilization and rebuilding of this war-torn country.
Our primary role in this plan falls under the interdiction pillar, where DEA will assist with the goal of destroying clandestine labs and seizing precursor chemicals, opium, and opiate stockpiles.
The two other DEA components of the interdiction pillar are the Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Teams and Operation Containment. The DEA's Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Teams, FAST, are supported, trained and largely funded by the Department of Defense. They consist of five teams of DEA special agents and intelligence research specialists who will be deployed two teams at a time in Afghanistan for 120-day rotations. These FASTs will provide guidance to their Afghan counterparts, while conducting bilateral investigations aimed at disrupting or dismantling transnational drug trafficking organizations operating in the region. The FASTs will also help with the destruction of opium storage sites, clandestine heroin processing labs, and precursor chemical supplies.
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Mr. Chairman, the Drug Enforcement Administration's FASTs may begin their initial deployment in Afghanistan as early as March 30.
Operation Containment is a DEA-led multinational cooperative program initiated in 2002 in an effort to place a security belt around Afghanistan that would prevent processing chemicals from entering the country and opium and heroin from leaving. In fact, in fiscal year 2004, approximately 3.27 metric tons of precursor chemicals were seized as a result of Operation Containment. This program has the participation of 19 countries in Central Asia, the Caucuses, the Middle East, Europe, and Russia.
The success of this program has been tremendous. During just the first quarter of fiscal year 2005, Operation Containment seized 2.4 metric tons of heroin, 985 kilograms of morphine base, 3 metric tons of opium gum, 152.9 metric tons of cannabis and 195 arrests.
With respect to drugs and terrorism, although the DEA has evidence that some terrorist groups are involved in drug trafficking, the drug trade continues to be dominated at all levels by traditional drug trafficking organizations. Nevertheless, terrorist groups have turned to alternative sources of financing, including fund-raising from sympathizers and nongovernmental organizations, as well as criminal activities such as arms trafficking, money laundering, kidnap for ransom, and drug trafficking.
In a new era of mobilization, both terrorist groups and criminal organizations have expanded and diversified their activities, taking advantage of the internationalization of communications and banking systems as well as the opening of borders. As a result, the traditional boundaries between terrorist groups and other criminal groups have begun to blur. As of December 31, 2004, the DEA had identified 45 percent, 18 of 40, of the organizations on the Department of State's Foreign Terrorist Organizations list as having possible ties to the drug trade.
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In conclusion, the DEA continues to take an active leadership role in the multinational efforts aimed at combating the drug threat posed by Afghanistan. We are confident that these efforts and those of other U.S. Government agencies, Afghan law enforcement and our other law enforcement partners will lead to a reduction of opium production and, ultimately, the stabilization of Afghanistan and the region.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for your recognition and assistance on this important issue and the opportunity to testify here today. I will be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Braun follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MICHAEL A. BRAUN, SPECIAL AGENT, CHIEF OF OPERATIONS, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
Chairman Hyde, and distinguished members of the Committee on International Relations, on behalf of Administrator Karen Tandy, I appreciate your invitation to testify today regarding the Drug Enforcement Administration's efforts in Afghanistan.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is keenly aware that the continued production of opium in Afghanistan is not only a significant threat to Afghanistan's future and the region's stability, but also could have worldwide implications. In response to this threat, the DEA has undertaken an aggressive approach to combat the production of opium in Afghanistan. In fact, I am pleased to announce that our Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Teams (FAST) may initiate their first deployment in Afghanistan as early as March 30, 2005. These teams of DEA Special Agents and Intelligence Research Specialists will provide guidance and conduct bilateral investigations to identify and dismantle illicit drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Our efforts, combined with those of our law enforcement partners, through a program known as Operation Containment, have resulted in significant opium and heroin seizures in the region. We are also providing training and assistance to law enforcement personnel in Afghanistan, and the DEA is directly involved in overseeing and advising U.S. Government and Afghan officials in counter narcotics programs and drug policy issues in Afghanistan. The DEA is confident that our efforts, along with those of our U.S. and foreign counterparts, will result in the reduction of drugs produced in Afghanistan, and will ultimately assist in the stabilization of Afghanistan and the region.
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OPIUM PRODUCTION IN AFGHANISTAN
Years of warfare, punctuated by the Soviet invasion and occupation throughout the 1980s and the civil strife of the 1990s, decimated Afghanistan's economic infrastructure. During this period, the drug trade unfortunately emerged as Afghanistan's largest source of income. In 2001, the Taliban banned the cultivation of opium, which temporarily resulted in a significant decrease in production, to an estimated 74 metric tons. However, since the collapse of the Taliban in 2001, production has increased substantially. Official U.S. Government estimates for 2004 indicate that Afghanistan had the potential to produce 4,950 metric tons of oven-dried opium, up from 2,865 metric tons in 2003, and 1,278 metric tons produced in 2002. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Afghanistan produced 87 percent of the world's illicit opium supply in 2004, up from 75 percent in 2003. But in spite of these cultivation projections, there was not a commensurate rise in total opium yields. This was due to drought, disease, and the inexperience of new ''farmers,'' which depressed the total per hectare output of opium. Although opium cultivation will continue throughout 2005, early surveys suggest a possibly significant decrease in opium production.
Meanwhile, the Karzai Administration has announced that there will be 100 percent eradication in 2005. This sends a clear message to farmers and opium cultivators that no amount of opium production will be tolerated. At present, there are two concurrently operating eradication programs in Afghanistan. The first is a U.K. Government-supported Central Poppy Eradication Force (CPEF). CPEF is comprised of 500 security personnel and about 1,000 locally hired Afghans who travel throughout the country to conduct ground eradication. In 2004 CPEF managed to eradicate only about 4,000 hectares because of internal management issues and security concerns (some poppy growers laid explosive booby traps in their fields; 4 eradicators were killed). In 2005, CPEF intends to travel to Nangarhar and Helmand Provinces to strike the densest growth regions. The other eradication program is the governor-led eradication program. Although this program appears to be fraught with corruption issues (there are reports some governors are allowing opium growth in some areas, while eradicating the fields of political opponents), all governors in 2005 have pledged to support President Karzai's eradication initiatives. The governors' eradication program hires local militia, farmers, and police to destroy poppy fields.
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The U.S. Government led the discussion in 2004, encouraging aerial eradication. However, the Afghanistan government is against such an approach for the time being.
THE PRODUCTION AND SMUGGLING OF HEROIN AND MORPHINE
Laboratories in Afghanistan convert opium into morphine base, white heroin, or one of several grades of brown heroin. The large processing labs are primarily located in southern Afghanistan, with smaller laboratories located in other areas, including Nangarhar Province. In the past, many opium processing laboratories were located in Pakistan, particularly in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). These laboratories relocated to Afghanistan, to be closer to the source of opium and to avoid increasing law enforcement actions by the Government of Pakistan.
Opiates produced in Afghanistan are typically consumed or smuggled to markets within the region, and also are smuggled to markets in the West, with the majority of the opiate products in Europe originating in Afghanistan. Some small quantities of heroin produced in Afghanistan are smuggled to the United States.
Afghan heroin is trafficked via many routes, with traffickers quickly adjusting smuggling routes based on law enforcement and political actions, not to mention weather-related events. Traffickers in Afghanistan primarily rely on vehicles and overland routes to move drug shipments out of the country. A number of reports have been received indicating that large convoys of well-armed passenger trucks (up to 60 or more vehicles) loaded with opiates have been driven across western Afghanistan into Iran. Large freight trucks, known as ''jinga'' trucks are also loaded with drugs and sent toward Pakistan, while smaller shipments of drugs are sent through the northern Afghanistan border with Tajikistan. Afghan traffickers have become adept at using sophisticated concealment methods, such as traps and hidden compartments to hide opium, morphine, and heroin.
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Also, reports indicate that heroin shipments moving north from Afghanistan through the Central Asian States to Russia have increased. Tajikistan law enforcement agencies report that approximately 80 percent of their drug seizures in Central Asia are opiates. Tajikistan is a primary transshipment location for opiate shipments destined for Russia. While some of the heroin is used in Russia, a portion transits Russia to other consumer markets in Western and Eastern Europe. Afghan heroin also transits India en route to international markets and continues to be trafficked from Afghanistan through Pakistan, with seizures frequently reported at Pakistan's international airports. Some heroin is smuggled by sea on vessels leaving the port city of Karachi.
Morphine base is transported overland through Pakistan and Iran, or directly to Iran from Afghanistan, and then into Turkey, where Turkey-based trafficking groups convert the morphine base to heroin prior to shipment to European and North American markets. Shipments of Afghan-produced morphine base are also sent by sea from Pakistan's Makran Coast. Smuggling routes north through the Central Asian States, then across the Caspian Sea and south into Turkey also are used.
Afghanistan produces no essential or precursor chemicals. Acetic anhydride (AA), which is the most commonly used acetylating agent in heroin processing, is smuggled into Afghanistan from Pakistan, India, the Central Asian States, China, and Europe.
MONEY LAUNDERING IN AFGHANISTAN
Afghanistan's legitimate banking sector was decimated by a generation of war. The ''hawala,'' which is a centuries-old, sophisticated underground banking system used in Afghanistan and throughout Asia, was the only way refugees and residents could remit money domestically and internationally. This system provides a confidential, convenient, efficient, and inexpensive service in areas that are not served by traditional banking facilities. While there is virtually no external paper trail of any financial transfers, the ''hawala'' dealers (hawaladars) keep very meticulous internal records. Drug proceeds in Afghanistan are likely remitted overseas using this system.
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In 2004, Afghanistan promulgated a number of laws to regulate the activities of the hawala system. It is generally accepted that Afghanistan will never rid itself of these ''hawaladars'' as long as they are an efficient and competitive substitute for legitimate banks. The Karzai Administration, however, has taken steps to ensure that a number of anti-money laundering statutes are enacted, including Know Your Customer and Terrorist Financing Laws.
THE FIVE PILLAR PLAN
The DEA has joined with coalition partners, the State Department, and the Department of Defense (DOD) in the U.S. Embassy Kabul Counternarcotics Implementation Plan. This ''Five Pillar Plan'' provides the DEA opportunities, as never before, to reduce heroin production in Afghanistan and contribute to the stabilization and rebuilding of this war-torn country. Our primary role in this plan falls under the ''Interdiction Pillar,'' where DEA will assist with the goal of destroying clandestine labs and seizing precursor chemicals, opium, and opiate stockpiles. To achieve that goal, the DEA is expanding its presence in Afghanistan by permanently stationing additional Special Agents and Intelligence Analysts to enhance that country's counternarcotics capacity. The DEA also will continue lending its expertise by providing drug enforcement training to our counterparts in the Counternarcotics Police-Afghanistan (CNPA). This effort will build Afghanistan's institutions of justice and strengthen internal counternarcotics capabilities. The other two DEA components of the ''Interdiction Pillar'' are the Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Teams and Operation Containment.
DEA'S PRESENCE IN AFGHANISTAN
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The DEA's Kabul Country Office reopened in February 2003, and it has made significant progress, while enduring difficult conditions. Security constraints, as well as other conditions in Afghanistan, initially severely limited our agents' movements and their ability to conduct traditional drug enforcement operations. Fortunately, the DEA is now permitted to travel outside the Kabul city limits, if specific security criteria can be met. This expanded travel will greatly increase our ability to conduct operations and gather intelligence. We also have increased our staffing levels in Afghanistan to more effectively complete our mission. As of January 2005, the Kabul Country Office established permanent positions for a Country Attaché and two Special Agents. We included another four Special Agent positions on a temporary duty status (TDY), as well as three Intelligence Research Specialists (IRS) (TDY) and two Support Staff positions. One Intelligence Research Specialist is assigned to the Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan (CFCA) Intelligence Fusion Center and another is assigned to the Combined Joint Task Force-76 (CJTF76) at Bagram Air Field. The other IRS is assigned to the Kabul Country Office. In addition to increasing our strength in the Kabul Country Office, the DEA responded to a request from the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, by detailing our Assistant Administrator for Intelligence to Afghanistan in August 2004, to serve as the head of the U.S. Embassy Office of Drug Control Policy in Kabul. This office is responsible for overseeing all U.S. Government counter narcotics programs in Afghanistan and advises both the U.S. Ambassador and the Afghanistan Ministry of Interior on drug policy issues.
The Kabul Country Office's primary counterpart in Afghanistan is the Counter Narcotics Police-Afghanistan (CNPA). The DEA has established the National Interdiction Unit (NIU), which is comprised of CNPA officers who have been selected to work in narcotic enforcement operations with the Kabul CO. The DEA will assist the unit by supporting the U.S. Embassy's plan to destroy clandestine labs and seize precursor chemicals, opium, and opiate stockpiles. With DEA advisory assistance, training, and mentoring, we anticipate the NIU will be capable of conducting independent operations within two years. These officers also will be working with the DEA's newly initiated Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team Agents. Since October 2004, 77 Counter Narcotic Police-Afghanistan (CNPA) NIU officers have graduated from their six-week training program and are operationally deployed. Included in this number are six female officers. The involvement of the female officers is of particular significance, due to cultural sensitivities, which prohibit women from being touched or searched by male law enforcement officers. These female officers will ensure that female suspects can be questioned, searched, and detained, if necessary. It is expected that, by April 2005, 100 NIU officers will have completed training and will work directly with the Kabul Country Office and other DEA entities.
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FOREIGN-DEPLOYED ADVISORY AND SUPPORT TEAMS
In support of the ''Five Pillars Plan,'' we have initiated the Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Teams (FAST). As early as March 30th, the FAST groups may begin their initial deployment in Afghanistan. The FAST program directly improves the DEA's work force and capabilities in Afghanistan by enhancing connectivity with its Afghan counterparts to identify, target, investigate, disrupt or dismantle transnational drug trafficking operations in the region. The FAST groups will provide guidance to their Afghan counterparts, while conducting bilateral investigations aimed at the region's trafficking organizations. The FAST groups, which are supported and largely funded by the Department of Defense, also will help with the destruction of existing opium storage sites, clandestine heroin processing labs, and precursor chemical supplies.
Each of the five FAST groups will consist of a Supervisory Special Agent, four Special Agents and one Intelligence Research Specialist. The FAST groups, who have received specialized training, will be deployed in Afghanistan, two groups at a time, and will rotate every 120 days. The remaining three groups will remain at the DEA Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia, where they will engage in training and provide operational support for the deployed teams.
DEA's participation in the Five Pillar Plan is an expansion of the DEA-led Operation Containment, which was initiated in 2002. The intensive, multi-national program known as Operation Containment was initiated in an attempt to place a security belt around Afghanistan, which would prevent processing chemicals from entering the country and opium and heroin from leaving. This program was necessary due to the lack of fully developed institutional systems for drug enforcement in Afghanistan, such as courts and law enforcement agencies. This program involves countries in Central Asia, the Caucuses, the Middle East, Europe, and Russia and has the participation of 19 countries. Through Operation Containment, in May 2003, the DEA was also able to establish a 25-member Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU) in neighboring Uzbekistana country critical to containing the threat of Afghan opium entering Central Asia for further transit to Russia and Western Europe.
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The success of this multi-national cooperative program has been tremendous. Prior to the initiation of Operation Containment, in 2002, only 407 kilograms of heroin were seized. In FY 2004, Operation Containment resulted in the seizure of 14.9 metric tons of heroin, 7.7 metric tons of morphine base, 5.9 metric tons of opium gum, approximately 3.27 metric tons of precursor chemicals, 77 metric tons of cannabis, 11 heroin labs, and the arrest of 498 individuals, as well as the dismantlement or disruption of major distribution and transportation organizations involved in the Southwest Asian heroin drug trade. During the first quarter of FY 2005, Operation Containment resulted in the seizure of 2.4 metric tons of heroin, 985 kilograms of morphine base, 3 metric tons of opium gum, 152.9 metric tons of cannabis, and 195 arrests.
DRUGS AND TERRORISM
In the past, terrorist groups derived much of their funding and support from state sponsors; however, with increased international pressure, many of these sources have become less reliable and, in some instances, disappeared altogether. As a result, terrorist groups have turned to alternative sources of financing, including fundraising from sympathizers and non-governmental organizations, as well as criminal activities, such as arms trafficking, money laundering, kidnap-for-ransom, extortion, racketeering, and drug trafficking. Both criminal organizations and terrorist groups continue developing international networks and establishing alliances of convenience. In the new era of globalization, both terror and crime organizations have expanded and diversified their activities, taking advantage of the internationalization of communications and banking systems, as well as the opening of borders. As a result, the traditional boundaries between terrorists groups and other criminal groups have begun to blur.
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Although the DEA has evidence that some terrorist groups are involved in drug trafficking, the drug trade continues to be dominated at all levels by traditional drug trafficking organizations. The DEA does not specifically target terrorist groups, except those that are involved as major drug trafficking or money laundering organizations (eg. FARC and AUC). For example, the DEA has achieved stunning successes in investigating, indicting, and causing the arrest of high-level narco-terrorists in Colombia that are on the Department of State's Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. Additionally, the DEA's intelligence program is working very closely with law enforcement and the Intelligence Community to identify and anticipate emerging threats posed by the links between drugs and terrorism.
As of December 31, 2004, the DEA had identified 45 percent (18 of 40) of the organizations on the Department of State's Foreign Terrorist Organizations list as having possible ties to the drug trade. In addition, it is noteworthy as of February 18, 2005, 13 of the 42 organizations on the Department's Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT) listthe ''Most Wanted'' drug trafficking and money laundering organizations believed to be primarily responsible for our nation's illicit drug supplyhad links to these Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
The DEA continues to take an active leadership role in the multi-national efforts to combat the drug threat posed by Afghanistan. To date, our efforts have included increasing staffing levels in the Kabul Country Office and assigning our Assistant Administrator for Intelligence to lead the U.S. Embassy's Office of Drug Control Policy in Kabul. In addition, the FAST groups are nearing their initial deployment in Afghanistan, and we will continue working with our law enforcement partners in Operation Containment. We are confident that these efforts, and those of other U.S. Government agencies, Afghan law enforcement, and our other law enforcement partners, will lead to a reduction of opium production, and ultimately, the stabilization of Afghanistan and the region.
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Mr. Chairman, thank you for your recognition and assistance on this important issue and the opportunity to testify here today. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I appreciate all of your testimonies.
Let me just poll the panel here for a moment. Does anyone contend that our antidrug program in Afghanistan has been a success? No? I wouldn't think so.
We noted that in the last 10 months there has been 19 instances where American military personnel have reported some contact with drug dealing or growing or producing or whatever. They have been followed through on, and we have a list of a certain number of tons or pounds or kilograms that have been confiscated in this last 10 months.
Can anyone tell me that the drug production in the last 10 months in Afghanistan has gone down? No.
The situation in Afghanistan, the fact that after all of this time in Afghanistan that the production of heroin and of poppies has grown as much as it has, frankly, is a disgrace, a total disgrace; and we are going to get some of the details today.
Mr. Wankel, I know that you have been right on the front line. Why has not it been working? Why do we face even more drugs on the market today grown in Afghanistan than we did 2 years ago? You have been right there fighting it out. I know that you have been doing your best. You are a tough guy. We have got very dedicated people over there. Why haven't we succeeded? Why has it been a failure?
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Mr. WANKEL. Thank you, Mr. Congressman.
First, I would like to say it is pretty impressive to me when I went over there last year about summer, and I first walked into Afghanistan, to see our young men and women, dedicated young men and women in the military forces, to see what they have done from the standpoint of securing Afghanistan and providing for the security of the men and women working at the Embassy. So it makes me proud to be an American.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I think it is important to note that we have had a tremendous success in that part, and thank you for making sure that we do not take things totally out of perspective. But today, unfortunately, we are only looking at this one avenue.
Mr. WANKEL. Right. I am a little older than some of my DEA colleagues that go over there, so it strikes my heart very dearly. I would say in the last 3 1/2 years there has been tremendous progress in Afghanistan as far as securing the nation and having a democratic election process and the President elected.
Frankly, I would agree with many of the comments that have been made from the Chair, by yourself, and others previous to you. I think the Government of Afghanistan was focused on things other than drugs. I think that is very obvious. I will say in the last part, the last quarter of 2004, we did see the Government of Afghanistan increase their emphasis, their focus of prioritization. I think the most telling features of that are the impassioned speech that President Karzai gave on December 9th, the new cabinet that he put into power after he was elected, the Subcommittee that he has placed for the cabinet that is taking on drugs, the deputy minister for counternarcotics that he has created who may be a force within the Government. So I think that we are seeing increased action.
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We are also seeing increased commitment and action on the part of the Government of the U.K., the lead nation, and also the United States in Afghanistan as a full partner to the U.K. with the strategy that we are now signed off on by the deputy's committee here in Washington and the efforts taking place. So I am very encouraged by the activity on the part of the Government of Afghanistan and the coalition partners, and I think that we will see marked progress there in the near term very soon.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. You know, I personally have been talking about this issueactually, I talked about this issue before the Taliban were thrown out. Every hearing, I brought this up and have been told the British are in charge and every other excuse of why we were not succeeding. Mr. Wankel, maybe you could tell us what entity on the ground should have the decisionmaking about launching aerial operations against targets that are identified as drug targets in Afghanistan.
Mr. WANKEL. You are not talking about eradication but aerial support otherwise?
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Aerial interdiction and attacks on laboratories or whatever.
Mr. WANKEL. It is my belief that the Afghans are embracing a rule of law. Developing the institutional capabilities the Government of Afghanistan is to have that process there. I think it is very important that the law enforcement entities, whether it is the ASNF, the Afghan Special Narcotics Force, or the National Interdiction Unit supported by the Drug Enforcement Administration with also some support from DoD, is critical and important if we are going to be able to go after these labs and these bazaars. But also to strike at the leadership, the individuals behind it, is critical and important; and it takes law enforcement to do that with support from DoD.
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That is kind of what I see as the aerial need. We need mobility, we need logistical support for them to do law enforcement operations, but the law enforcement entities are the best ones to exercise the rule of law.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Let's be very specific. Do you believe that the DoD should have veto poweryes or noon whether or not a specific effort would go or not go?
Mr. WANKEL. I think that is a difficult question to answer, depends where we are going with that. DoD is still responsible for the security of the nation, so the DoD has to do the planning. DEA understands that and deconfliction with DoD as far as where these operations are taking place within Afghanistan. So from that standpoint, yes.
If it is a matter of there are no assets available, then that is very difficult. To hold up a law enforcement operation because of the unavailabilityand, as Ms. Long spoke to, at some point we have to have dedicated resources for the mobility and logistical support for these law enforcement operations.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Okay. Let me ask our representatives from the Administration here. Obviously, this isn't just the case where we can eradicate the drug production and not think of the economic consequences, and obviously this consideration has had something to do with the decisionmaking as to whether or not we should move forward, and that is not an irrational process to go through. What are we doing to make sure that people whowell, first of all, let me ask this. Ambassador Quinn, how much money is the Afghan economy reaping out of the drug trade a year?
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Ms. QUINN. The estimate from the IMF is that the value of the trade is approximately 60 percent of their GDP.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. How much is that?
Ms. QUINN. I think it is about $2.5 billion.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Anybody else have another? Two and a half billion dollars, that is what the heroin production in Afghanistan is making? Anybody else?
That money, of course, does not go to the Afghans. A significant amount of that money goes to the people who are selling it and the people who are transporting it and the people who are collecting it and organizing the effort to market the drug. In terms of what actually reaches Afghan hands, does anyone have an estimate of what we are talking about?
Let me note that I have a piece of legislation that is ready to drop and will be dropped some time soon. This is the title I have come up withthe Afghan Poppy Eradication and Economic Prosperity Act. I think those two go hand in hand.
I would suggestand my suggestion in the bill is that we authorize a billion dollars, but it might be less or more, depending on what the need is, that we have a work program for Afghans, that we move forward as quickly as possible to eradicate poppy production in Afghanistan. We can do it very quickly, which I will come to in a moment, and then immediately offer people on the scene a chance to work for $10 a day.
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I would submit that $10 a day to people who are willing to do manual laborbuilding schools, roads, irrigation canals, whatever work needs to be done, clearing land mines, et ceterathat $10 a day pumped into the Afghan economy will actually bring greater prosperity than $2.5 billion of heroin trade.
But unless we are willing to do something of that magnitude and do it on an emergency basis, there will be a dislocation; and obviously that is a rational position.
Now what I want to ask the panel is this, and this is very important, because as I say, I have been involved in Afghanistan for over 20 years now. I follow these things very closely, and I am very aware of the monies that Congress has allocated for the study of, basically, a herbicide that will tackle the opium problem. And I hope all of you aware of it. If you are not, please tell me.
This is no longer a secret and classified issue, because it has been brought up before here in this panel. Why are we not using the herbicide in question thathow do you pronounce itmycoherbicidethat was developed in Uzbekistan and gone through tests here that could eliminate the entire poppy crop in Afghanistan very quickly without having to risk all of these people's lives? Why have we not gone forward with that? And where does that stand after we have already allocated money for the research and development to make sure that that was a viable alternative?
Ambassador Quinn, we will go right down the line.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. QUINN. Mr. Rohrabacher, I am familiar with the study of this mycoherbicide but not really the details. I do not have a lot of expertise in that area. However, I will speak broadly on our program in Afghanistan.
Our commitment and our effort this year is to put the Government of Afghanistan and the Afghan police forces, you know, the police force, the central poppy eradication force, Afghan special narcotics force, put them out in front in the effort. We believe that it is very important that there be the Afghan face on the program in Afghanistan, obviously.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Especially if you take the old approach or the tried-and-true approach, which has never worked anywhere, of having these raids into areas where they are growing. I can only think of one major success and that has been Turkey where we have managed to do this job, and I think the Turks themselves are so tough that they were able to do this. And I would say there is only one group of people I have met in the world who are tougher than the Turks and that is the Afghans.
Does anyone else know about the herbicide and want to comment on the herbicide?
Let me note that I brought this up several times. And if you are responsible for Afghanistan and you do not know the answer to this question, I would suggest that you go back and do your homework. Because all you are doing is listening to ''yes'' people or you are listening to people who are basically unable to seriously look at alternatives that have not yet been tried. All the other efforts I have seen that have been tried have failed.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Seeing that we have an Afghanistan awash in heroin, we can't even get attentionhow many reporters are here? If we are talking about steroids in baseball, we would probablysteroid use on the Afghan baseball team, we would have a roomful of reporters here. But, instead, we are talking about heroin that goes into our schools and destroys the lives of young people around the world.
So let me admonish you and, through you, the Administration that I expect, and this Committee will expect, some hard answers on that herbicide.
For the record, what we understandI say we, the number of us who have been working on this projectis that the poppy production could be eliminated within a week in Afghanistan; and it would only attack the poppies and would have no impact on human beings and would eliminate poppy production for over a decade in Afghanistan. I want to know why we are not doing that? And I am putting everybody on record right now that we are going to follow up on this every hearing that we have dealing with Afghanistan in the next 6 months and are going to expect an answer on that.
Ms. WATSON. Mr. Chairman, would you yield for a moment?
I was over in the steroid hearing. You can't get through the hall to it. It is like going through a maze because all the press is out there.
But I heard your proposal. You said something about $10 a day. Was that intended for those who grow the opium poppies to eradicate on their own? Or was that intended for them to find work and to pay them to substitute for the money they make? Can you clarify that, please?
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Mr. ROHRABACHER. The Rohrabacher plan, whatever that is, is basically that we use the herbicide, and we get rid of the poppies. Once we do, as part of that whole process, we offer any Afghan citizen willing to work for a day's pay $10 for a day's labor; and that infusion into the economy should make up for the millions of dollars that are pumped into the economy. I say only millions because it may be $2.5 billion worth of heroin being produced but probably only $50 million of that is going into the hands of Afghan people. That would then make up for that and create a more general prosperity.
Ms. WATSON. Would you yield for another response?
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes.
Ms. WATSON. I saw them interviewing an Afghan farmer in his field and he said, ''I have no income. The only thing I can do is to plant the poppy to support my family.''
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Right.
Ms. WATSON. And immediately I thought, why are we not supplementing his income so that we can get him to produce another crop? So if your proposal would include a provision that would allow him to get these micro-loans or whatever to be able to grow an alternative cropand I am reading our Committee's information sheet that GPA is dependent60 percent of Afghan GPA is raising these illegal products or drugs.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROHRABACHER. Reclaiming my time, that is the idea of spending the huge amount of money on a works program that would put enough money into their economy where people would then be able to buy food, the level of food consumption would go up, and the Afghan farmers would then have a new market to sell to. It would stimulate the economy in a broad way, rather than the drug way which is creating, almost, a very rich and a very poor type of class in Afghanistan.
But that is just an idea that I am kicking out in terms of some legislation.
But what is most important is that we get serious and we look at all alternatives, and I do not believe that, until now, this Government, our Government, has been serious about eliminating and confronting the challenge of heroin production that finds its way back to Afghanistan. Your testimony today has indicated to me that perhaps there is an awakening, but it is not going to solve the problem. What I see outlined today is not going to solve this problem unless we do something much more dramatic in terms of eradication and bold eradication.
With that said, Congresswoman McCollum.
Ms. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I think we are all tracking along the same line here. I have some different numbers and, unfortunatelyMr. Chair, I will get these cites for you to see where I got them frombut some numbers I have from 2002 to 2004, the aid funding spent on relief and reconstruction projects in Afghanistan was $3.4 billion. The drug income amounted to $6.8 billion.
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So as we moved and shifted some of our emphasis on Afghanistan, as we have continued to spend more and more dollars in Iraq, we have not fulfilled some of the promises and the expectations that the Afghani people had of us and the coalition partners that went in after September 11th.
And to go to the pointand I will cite where I am getting this quote from. This is from The New York Times, February 27, 2005, the last paragraph in an article where they were talking about how the farmers really aren't seeing the money on this, it is the traffickers. So if we can cut the traffickers out, that helps. But this is a quote from a farmer:
''Karzai lied to us. He said we will give you assistance, and he did not. So we grew poppy to feed our families. Then the President ordered it destroyed.''
And the article talks about how they came in and destroyed the poppies.
So we destroyed it, and now they are destroying our wheat. They are talking about the spraying that is going on. So there is a way to do spraying and to do it right if we are to spray.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Just to note, if the gentlewoman would yield
Ms. MCCOLLUM. Certainly. I am sure the Chair is going to be generous with my time.
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Mr. ROHRABACHER. Absolutely.
On that point, the herbicide that I have presented today that I want answers aboutbecause we are just tired of going around and not getting straight answers on it and people forgetting the issue. That herbicide, apparently, from what I have determined and others, would only affect the poppy production. Because it can be genetically aimed specifically at poppies and will not hurt human beings and will eliminate poppy production but not other plants for a period of over a decade. So just to answer that.
Ms. MCCOLLUM. Coming from Minnesota, a farming State, and I think a lot of people are familiar with what Round-Up is because they advertise it is just for killing weeds in general. In the article, that is what American officials are talking about, is spraying Round-Up, indiscriminate spraying.
So we need to do a better job in our commitment to aid, and we need to do a better job working with the farmers in the area who are, some of them, trying to change things.
I would be also interested in knowing what our Government is doing to really reduce the demand for heroin and opium in this country. As long as there is a market, there will be people out there trying to find a way to produce it and sell it. So are we doing enough here at home in our budgets to address addiction and to reduce the demand on heroin? I think that, maybe, is not the exact purview of the International Relations Committee, but these things are all interrelated.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Going back to finding ways of dealing with drug use that is illegal, I have received some information that perhaps what we should do is work with some of the farmers in working toward the legal production of morphine in Afghanistan and really ratcheting it down and controlling it. They could produce as much as 25 percent of the world's medical supply. In other words, it is a drug that is used, but legally control it and find a way to legally have this be part of their economy.
But we have a lot of work to do in this area. So I am curious as toif you can speak to the fact or if you can give this Committee some information as to what we are doing in upcoming budgeting to help improve with reconstruction for Afghani's capabilitywhat we are doing actually with the spraying, as I think you are going to get back to Chairman Rohrabacher on, and what kind of plans has the State Department discussed? Or maybe they have never discussed working with the Karzai Government to work toward the legal use of heroin and morphine and opium for medical supply and not allowing in a black market but an accountable market to put dollars back into the economy for the country. Anybody want to comment on that?
Mr. BRAUN. Your first question, I believe, had to do with demand reduction, what are we doing in our country to reduce the demand for drugs, which equates to education, prevention and that kind of thing.
I am speaking outside of my lane. We do not have a representative from ONDCP here today, but I can tell you that over the years we are all sold on this notion that we are losing the war on drugs. I can tell you that there has been about a 40-percent reduction in drug abuse in this country since the height of the problem in 1979, and that is significant.
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Ms. MCCOLLUM. Excuse me, Agent, when you use thatwe know what is happening with meth throughout this country. So your 40 percent is what? Total?
Mr. BRAUN. I am talking about overall drug abuse in this country.
Ms. MCCOLLUM. I just met with law enforcement, and they would say the exact opposite in Minnesota.
Mr. BRAUN. Ma'am, with all due respect, I have been involved in law enforcement for 30 yearslocal police officer for 4 and State police officer for 7and I have been with DEA for 20 years. We have a very robust local and State law enforcement program in DEA. We work very closely with our local and State counterparts across the country.
I am not here to tell you that we are not faced with problems out there. We have a tremendous problem with methamphetamines that we are faced with now. But I can tell you that most of the statistics are not coming from the Government, they are coming from the University of Michigan and other groups out there that have conducted surveys for years and years, and those are the numbers.
ONDCP has a very aggressive program, I believe, to get the message out to young people, parents, and people of all ages across our country that not only are drugs bad, but, when it comes to focusing on kids, the importance of making the right decisions, not only about drugs, but about many different things in life.
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Ms. MCCOLLUM. So you would say the budget has increased?
Mr. BRAUN. The budget has increased?
Ms. MCCOLLUM. Has increased for reaching out to people? Because the only thing I routinely hear, Mr. Chair, are alcohol commercials that we hear, and I haven't even seen some of the spots that we saw right after September 11th that were saying the way to stop terrorism was to stop the flow of drugs into and drug use in this country. With budgets being cut, are we doing what we need to do to keep it up? Because a message needs to be repetitive. Those of us who are parents know. And I have to tell you, I haven't heard the message.
Mr. BRAUN. Okay. Again, Ma'am, I am not from ONDCP, but we work with ONDCP very closely. What I can do is, I can contact the right people at ONDCP and give you the information that you need. I know what you are after. Yes, Ma'am.
Ms. MCCOLLUM. So anybody want to tackle the economy?
Mr. Chair, that the Government spends $10 per person in Afghanistan is the statistic that I have that I think is a very solid one. So your $10 just for a day would make a difference. But, Ambassador, I think you wanted to say something.
Mr. FULGHAM. I would like to address the alternative livelihoods and some of the economic issues.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just to give Congressman Rohrabacher some context as to where we are in the alternative livelihoods program, we started in October 2004, with a small grant of about $12 million, to address some of the key areas in Kandahar and Helmand to get programs underway to support the alternative livelihoods program. We also financed about 500 tons of wheat seed for the winter planting program in Nangarhar where farmers were restrained from planting poppy. We also recognized the immediate need for visibility and quick impact. We found another $37 million in December to start doing the cash for work program to provide a social safety net.
That addresses some of the short-term issues that you are concerned about as far as getting support.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Did you say $12 million and $37 million?
Mr. FULGHAM. $12 immediately in October when we were asked
Mr. ROHRABACHER. And $37 followed?
Mr. FULGHAM. Followed, yes, sir.
We also established a social safety net for vulnerable families and households that will provide direct resource transfer for food and other household necessities.
The program has three principal contractors who are now establishing logistics and personnel and bases in Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar and Badakhshan. What is important about this is that 75 percent of the production of the poppies in Afghanistan are in those five regions, and we are setting up programs immediately in there. We have also been asked by the Government to set up programs additionally in Faryab, Ghor and Uruzgan. So we are talking about potentially eight provinces.
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As we mentioned, it is a monumental task. In 2005, we are talking about $180 million to go into a new program that we are setting up to work in those eight provinces so they will be working schools-to-work, farm-to-market roads, agricultural activities, and these are all programs that are specifically addressing the alternative livelihoods program.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. And the aid was going to pump in how much?
Mr. FULGHAM. $180 million.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. And that starts when?
Mr. FULGHAM. That is starting immediately.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. And that money has already been appropriated and is in the pipeline?
Mr. FULGHAM. $70 million of it is in the pipeline, and the other has been requested in the supplemental; $110 in the supplemental.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Okay.
Ms. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, it is on this pointso when you talk dollars, how much of itI mean, what percent goes into letting the contracts, what percent is going intoI mean, how much of it is actually going to the person in the village?
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Mr. FULGHAM. For example, Congresswoman, I was just in Nangarhar and BadakhshanNangarhar about 2 weeks ago with our Administrator. We visited a village, Mufti, which is up against the Tora Bora mountains. This is a village that last year produced about 78 hectares of poppy last year. This year, there was not one poppy seed planted there. We have 400 people currently working in that community, paying them $3 a day. They are also putting up a bed wall that will keep the village from being washed away.
So this community is working well because of the fact that we are working with the community leaders, with the shiras, with the mayors. It goes to the Congressman's point that you have to get the money down to the level of the people, and I think we have done an excellent job of doing that in a short period of time. This new program for $120 million will help us move toward addressing those issues in other parts of the country as well.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much. And let us note, all the money that comes out of this profit, very little of it goes to the Afghan people but a lot of it goes to terrorist organizations that hate everything that we are standing for in that part of the world.
Mr. TANCREDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Long and General Remington, if you could help me understand a little more about exactly what happens when our troops come into contact with poppies, drug production, whether it is the growing of poppies or labs or anything else. According to Ms. Long's testimony, it says, in Afghanistan, United States troops are authorized to conduct military operations against drug trafficking targets when those military operations support our stability mission in Afghanistan. Troops coming across drugs or drug production equipment during the conduct of other military operations are authorized to take action against these and report all drug-related activities.
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Authorized to do so. Do you always do so? If, in fact, the military comes in contact with any of these drug production activities, what will be the result? Whether it is in, ''the support of our militaryour stability mission'' or not?
General REMINGTON. Yes, sir. If our troops do come in contact, they do make every effort to turn over the drugs or weapons cache or whatever they discover to the appropriate authorities, normally the Afghan authorities; and they do that every time they come across it.
Mr. TANCREDO. Okay. So they will not take any action themselves unless it is deemed to be part of the stability program or whatever; is that correct? Direct action against them other than reporting it to somebody?
General REMINGTON. They will seize it and make sure that it does not get out from under their control and then hand it off to the appropriate civilian authorities, Afghan national police, those kinds of authorities from Afghanistan.
Mr. TANCREDO. Why not just destroy it as you would in conducting military operations?
General REMINGTON. I can't say oftentimes, but sometimes they do destroy it. Sometimes they are unable to make contact with higher headquarters and, as a result of that, they have authority to dispose of it, which is normally blow it up.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TANCREDO. Okay. Do you feel comfortable that, in fact, every time that our military confrontscomes across something like this, drug manufacturing, production in any form, that we address it immediately? That there is no, you know, well, let's wait until somebody else takes care of this issue? Do you feel comfortable that is always the case?
General REMINGTON. Yes, sir, I do. I mean, you could never say always and never say never. But I am very comfortable that it is a fair statement to say that if our troops come across drugs in the field, that they will seize those drugs. They will make every effort to contact the Afghan authorities. If they can't make contact, they will seize the drugs themselves and dispose of them appropriately.
Mr. TANCREDO. And how about the growing of poppies? They are not yet drugs.
General REMINGTON. No, sir. The United States military does not do the eradication mission.
Mr. TANCREDO. Well, why? Why not?
General REMINGTON. Sir, the eradication mission is a law enforcement mission.
Mr. TANCREDO. I mean, there you are. The military is on the scene. There is a large field of poppies. Why not just simply destroy it? I mean, why wouldn't that be conducting military operations in support of our stability mission? Seems to me that is in support of our stability mission.
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Ms. LONG. Yes, sir. Let me actually scoot back around. We have answered this question several times, and let me clarify what, in many cases, happens.
In many instances, our forces are actually out conducting counterinsurgency or counterterrorism missions and in the course of doing so they come across either poppies or a drug lab or drugs or whatever. In those occasions, the commander in the field and particularly the individual in charge of that mission has to weigh a lot of risks. If he conducts a particular destruction or stops to turn over the drugs, he may compromise his larger-priority counterterrorism or counterinsurgency mission he is on the way to do.
In some cases, of course, the military makes that assessment. Of course, the primary goal of the mission is retained, and we do not divert to either destroy or turn over the drugs.
In cases where there is poppy for eradication, our forces are not equipped for, and are not experienced with eradication. They do not even have the tools in order to do that when they are out in the field. That is traditionally a long-standing function of the Department of State. Very early on in the division of labor in the whole counterdrug war, a division was made. Because the State has the expertise, they have the tools and the resources and, in this case, the men on the ground to perform the eradication functions.
The military does not involve itself. We are out primarily conducting the stability and security operation; and, as General Remington pointed out, when we can, without compromising those other priority missions, we do dispose of or destroy or turn over the drugs. I hope that clarifies it.
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Mr. TANCREDO. I understand the division of labor. But I must admit to you, Ms. Long, that our concerns, as I think already expressed by the Chairman and the Ranking Member here, would indicate to you that we do not have great confidence in the Department's commitment to getting this job done as officially and as effectively as possible. Therefore, that is why it is not really clear to me why it cannot happen as a result of military operations.
Believe me, when you say they do not know how to deal with it, the military knows how to break things and kill people. That is their job, and I am glad they do it, and they do it well. And I am just wondering why you can't figure out a way to destroy a poppy field. It seems to me a relatively simple task. But, nevertheless, let me go on to a couple of other things.
While I have Ms. Long, you limit yourself to four missions, I understand, four missions per month?
Ms. LONG. We do not limit ourselves to four missions a month. Right now, given the resources that we have in country and the continuing focus on stabilization with counterterrorism and counterinsurgencyas you are all aware, we lose guys practically every week in continuing operations against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. I have pressed, and the military has done, I think, a realistic assessment that at this point in time they are prepared to support approximately four operations a month; and it is our understanding that, given the law enforcement resources that are available, that is about right. That is about the support that they will be needing per month, so I think we are on target, sir.
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Mr. TANCREDO. So it is a resource-driven issue, not necessarily any other criteria applied to it?
Ms. LONG. It is resource both in the aspect of DoD resources but also law enforcement and Afghan capacity. Remember, we are dealing with a nation that is just now beginning to rebuild its police and interdiction forces. Right now, the NIU consists of a grand total of 100 trained officers, very few of which actually have done these things before with either their DEA or their DoD counterparts; and it is going to take a little more time and patience to get some experience under their wings.
Mr. TANCREDO. One other question for you in terms of your testimony. The public's information support, it seems to me to be a really important and excellent way for us to try to address the issue. If you could help me understand, given the society and the culture, what is it exactly that we are going to do? What is the way in which we will address this issue from a public information standpoint? Is it the same thing we would do here or anywhere else and say, ''Just Say No'' type of thing?
How does the Afghan society respond to the fact that you have such a huge percentage of their domestic product in the production of heroin and poppies and then, if they see that, how do you attack that from a public relations standpoint?
Ms. LONG. Actually, as far as the tactical application on the ground, probably the most experienced experts on this is Department of State, but I will answer that to the best of my ability. Actually, I appreciate the question, because it is important for you to know that the capabilities that the Department of Defense is working with the Afghans in building are complementary to the capabilities that the Department of State is very ably setting up with the Embassy there, which is working actually with the messaging that is coming out of the United Kingdom but, most importantly, with the messaging that is coming out of the Karzai Government.
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You are exactly right. The way that we are doing the messaging and the way the Karzai Government is messaging is different than the way we would here in the United States. People are not turning on CNN and are not surfing the Internet for their news.
Mr. TANCREDO. The first part of that is good. We need somebody on our side giving out the message.
Ms. LONG. The State Department has taken the lead in getting the religious community involved, in getting the governmental community involved at a grassroots level, including mullahs and the unofficial tribal leadership to which the Afghan people look for their guidance, not only from a religious and social standpoint, but also from a personal standpoint; and I know that the effort that is in place is attempting to reach out in that way.
We are going to radio, which is one of the more popular means of spreading messages. They are holding meetings where they invite religious, tribal and other leaders in and, basically, everybody sits down in a tent and talks not only about ''Just Say No'' but aboutand this was Karzai's ideabut about the disgrace this brings about on the proud Afghan people, and about the health issues, about demand reduction issues, about infant mortality issues, and really attempting to weave the message into all aspects of Afghan life. In this respect, President Karzai, I think, set the tone in his post-inauguration; and we are attempting to augment that.
Mr. TANCREDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Poe.
Mr. POE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate you all being here. I have a few questions that I would like to ask you, and let me give you a little bit of background.
I spent all of my career until recently in the criminal justice system as a prosecutor and as a judge, not as a participant on the other side. In the '70s, we were prosecuting those heroin cases; and all of those heroin addicts that we prosecuted and sent to penitentiary, they all died. And heroin, in Houston, it wasn't a drug of choiceand went to other things, cocaine. They did not use methamphetamines because Texas blew up their labs, so we did not have that problem, and now we see it coming back again.
I see the results of what heroin does to people. Eighty percent of the people in the Texas penitentiary have some drug affiliation, those 165,000 were involved in drugs possession or sales.
So I see the war on terror as really three issues: There is what we think of as the war on terror, and then there is the funding of terrorist activity through opium. But the secondary terrorist activity is the result of heroin and opium when it gets into the United States. When those drugs get here, they go someplace; and that concerns me as much as the other two problems.
So I say all of that just to give you a little background and ask you, first of all, What is the attitude of the Afghan people toward opium? Anybody can answer that.
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Mr. WANKEL. Well, living in Afghanistan, I guess I am the one to answer that. Depends on where you are in Afghanistan.
If you are in Badakhshan, especially where opium has been grown for several hundred years, it is common there for mothers to use it for their children when they are teething or when they have other ailments. It is a form of medicine. Can be, if it is properly administered. There are a lot of women also that, since the last 20, 25 years, and especially during and since the Taliban times, have been users themselves to escape from some of their misery.
The use, number one, is increasing in Afghanistan. A lot of people in Afghanistan do not understand yet what the outcome of being around opium from the standpoint of use and abuse is. And that is why the public information campaign and getting the demand reduction, prevention, treatment aspect developmentwhich, by the way, is one of the pillars of the Afghan drug programof their strategy. It is critical that we get it out.
The educated Afghanunfortunately, there is not enough of those, I guessbut the educated Afghan is understanding the fact that opium is dangerous. They have listened to President Karzai. He has made it very clear that it is dangerous, as Ms. Long said, for their health, for the integrity, if you will, of Afghanistan. It is also dangerous environmentally to have the heroin laboratories and the chemical runoffs that goes into the water table, so we are doing more work to make that known. But a lot of people have to be educated more as to the ills and the danger of drugs, particularly opium and heroin in Afghanistan. It does not come easily.
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If you look at this across the border in Pakistan, they now have about a half million heroin addicts, and 25 years ago they had none. And they have another 1.5 million so-called recreational users of heroin in Pakistan. So it is something that is very critical.
I think that it is something that we do a good job ourselves of supporting the Afghans on the educational element. It can make a difference to show them that it can be their problem. We have to convince them it is not just a demand-driven drug. Heroinjust like cocaineis a drug where supply can create demand. We have seen that in Russia. Russia now has at least 15 tons of heroin use a year, when 20 years ago they had virtually none. We do need a lot more work on that, Congressman.
Mr. POE. Special Agent Braun, a couple of questions about DEA. How come there is no office in Dubai to cover the major threat of the money laundering that is going on in Afghanistan? Can you give me an answer to that question?
Mr. BRAUN. Yes, sir. Our Administrator, in fact, just spoke with the Ambassador in Dubai a few days ago and are in the process in the next couple of weeks of sending an agent TDY to Dubai for 3 months to conduct an assessment to determineto answer the question, do we need an office? We believe we need an office. The question is, Where exactly do we put it? Do we put it in Dubai or in Abu Dhabi, where most of the banking infrastructure is located?
So we, of course, will have to seek congressional approval to open an office and go through the entire process, but I feel certain we will be asking for just that in 2007.
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Mr. POE. Again, can you report back to this Committee as to the decision that is made, whether to open an office there or want? Regardless of what the results are?
Mr. BRAUN. Yes, sir, we will.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Congressman, I would suggest that you personally take responsibility to see that they follow up on that. And I am serious. So many times we get commitments in hearings like this, and the minute people walk out the door they forget it. I would like very much if you would work with me and let me know whether or not they have followed through on that question.
Mr. POE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I will.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. As you can see, we have 10 minutes before we have to be down on the Floor for a vote. I would like to thank all the witnesses who have been with us today. I have a couple more questions that I will submit in writing to Mr. Wankel and Braun, and hopefully you can get that back to me in writing.
Let me note that the testimony that we had about $49 million that was spent since October, 2004, to help create the type of economic environment for alternatives, that is good. Except that is only 6 months ago, and we have been in Afghanistan a long time. I have gone through years of hearings here.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let us hope that this is a good beginning. Like you said, there is going to be $180 million following. And you mentioned that they were paying $3 a day for help. Again, if we can stop the heroin production in Afghanistan, which is in the billions of dollars, it is worth it to us to pay the people of Afghanistan $5 or $10 a day to make sure they have a strong economy and that their people won't suffer because of taking this heroin money out of their country.
So I need an answer to the question about mycoherbicide. I want to know why it is not being used.
We hear about the new teams that are being created. These are people risking their lives. That is why the military does not do this. The military has another mission, and for them to risk their lives on the anti-drug mission when we have an alternative is sinful. It really is. If we can use this herbicide, let's do it.
My guess is there are powerful forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are saying do not use it. We need to question the motives of those people who are saying do not use it. You know, they can cry all they want, and if they are bad guys, they may not want us to use this because they are benefiting from the drug trade. The fact that drug production continues to go up indicates that some of the people we are working with are not really serious about it.
So I am wishing you all success in those efforts to offer the alternative. If you want to use my formula, $10 a day, fine, but let's get some money into the economy and eradicate as quickly as possible the opium production. Because that is financing the people who hate the United States of America, the people who are committing terrorist acts against us, the people that are killing our troops. Let's get that money out of their hands.
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Thank you all very much. We are going to keep a very close eye on this. As I said to Mr. Poe, I am not just going to walk away and not expect a response. I am going to follow through. And I thank Chairman Hyde for the leadership he is providing on this very important issue. We are here to work with you, and thank you very much for the hard work.
I have got 1 minute. Go right ahead.
Mr. WANKEL. It has been in the press and I just want to make sure that there is no misunderstanding. In the hearing today people talked about an article in The New York Times. I want to make clear that there has been no aerial spraying to this point by the United States or any other country in Afghanistan. It was alluded to in November of last year and then again in February of this year. But there has been no aerial spraying.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much for putting that on the record. And I am not talking about the type of spraying that we have done in the past, which is very risky as well as also affects people's health. I am talking about something that is a brand-new alternative in the last 3 or 4 years that nobody has touched. Let's take a look at it.
Thank you very much, and God bless all of you for the work you are trying to do, the good things that you are trying to do for our country.
This hearing is now adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:04 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
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A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DAN BURTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF INDIANA
Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this timely and important hearing to highlight the United States' counter-narcotics policy in Afghanistan.
Over two years ago, the United States and a brave coalition of allies31 Nations stronglaunched a bold military campaign that resulted in the liberation of some 50 million people. In the process, the U.S.-led Coalition toppled the oppressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and overthrew the brutal dictator Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Since the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Rice, and Ambassador Khalilzad have all made the stability, peace, and prosperity of Afghanistan's fledgling democracy a top foreign policy priority of the United States Government.
As Afghanistan takes another step in its democratization, and prepares for historic parliamentary elections this Fall, a looming threat quietly lies throughout the Afghan fieldsthe poppy seedwhich may unfortunately lead to the destabilization of the whole process. The production, cultivation, and distribution of this one substance has the potential to derail all of the U.S. and coalition forces efforts in Afghanistan, destabilize the Karzai Administration, and may even lead Afghanistan down the road of civil war and unrest.
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As you already know Mr. Chairman, poppythe precursor of heroinis one of the world's most addictive and poisonous substances, and is currently thriving in Afghanistan, making its way to the streets of America. In fact, government statistics estimate that the 2004 Afghanistan poppy crop netted roughly 510,000 acresan increase of 239% from 2003.
As a result, Afghanistan supplied approximately 87% of the world's opium in 2004, which translated to over $2.8 Billion dollars. Experts indicate that those illegal dollars end up in the hands of rogue Afghan warlords, and possibly even terrorist organizations, such as the Taliban. These huge increases in production, and the large profits they produce, should alarm the entire worldespecially the Afghan and U.S. governments.
As Afghan warlords get rich off the addiction of others, they become empowered, and more emboldened against the rule and power of one of our most strategic partners in Kabul, President Karzai.
Now is the time for the U.S. to act, and combat the harmful production of Afghan poppy. In order to achieve our political goals of stability and democratization in Afghanistan, we need to seriously engage the issue of poppy production and distribution, and formulate a comprehensive and multi-lateral policy of education, training, interdiction, and eradication.
One essential step in this comprehensive strategy is eradication. The United States Government has been assisting governments throughout the globe; especially those of Central and South America who have conducted and implemented eradication efforts to combat the spread of narcotics.
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Successful eradication efforts, specifically aerial eradication, such as that in Colombia, where cocaine and heroin have fallen to historic lows, can and should be used as a model for our combined efforts to destroy the poppy in Afghanistan, both successfully and safely. By utilizing the AT802 Air Tractors, flown by highly-specialized pilots, we can successfully execute aerial eradication operations in Afghanistan, and lessen poppy production.
Only through a well-defined policy of education, training, interdiction, and eradication can the United States and its Allies successfully and effectively combat the cultivation and production of opium and heroin.
I urge all levels of government to fully appropriate the manpower and funds needed to fully combat this narcotic epidemic in Afghanistan and encourage the development and implementation of a multi-faceted, multi-lateral strategy.
Once again Mr. Chairman, I thank you for holding this important and timely hearing. I look forward to hearing from the witnesses and hopeby the days endthat we will have a better understanding of how best to proceed with our counter-narcotics efforts throughout Afghanistan.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MR. ALONZO FULGHAM, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF SOUTH ASIAN AFFAIRS, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you and the other members of the Committee for the opportunity to testify today on behalf of the U.S. Agency for International Development. I would also like to recognize this Committee's strong support for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Your continued commitment is crucial to the success of our efforts there.
As this committee is well aware, the production, processing and trafficking of the opium poppy and its derivatives in Afghanistan has become a critical problem that threatens both the security of the Afghan state as well as U.S efforts to stabilize and reconstruct the country. An estimated 2.3 million people are involved in Afghanistan's opium economy, which constitutes approximately 60% of the country's non-drug gross domestic product. Poppy is produced in all of Afghanistan's provinces, and is grown on approximately 4.5% of all arable land nationwide.
Since poppy production is such a fundamental part of the Afghan economy, I would like to address what the U.S. Government is doing to provide the economic incentives needed to complement the deterrent effects of the other parts of our counter-narcotics strategy. The alternative livelihoods program, led by USAID, will increase the benefits of participating in the legal economy and accelerate economic growth in the principal poppy producing provinces of Afghanistan. The combination of increasing the cost and risk of producing poppy while providing viable economic alternatives to the illicit crop is the key to our counter-narcotics strategy.
The alternative livelihoods program commenced last fall with cash-for-work projects in Helmand and Nangarhar, the two most important poppy-producing provinces in Afghanistan. This first component of the alternative livelihoods program is providing an immediate alternative source of income to households that are dependent on the opium economy. Through these immediate needs activities we are also building or rehabilitating critically needed rural infrastructure, such as irrigation and drainage canals, which are essential to agricultural production.
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These labor-intensive infrastructure projects have been placed in districts that are targeted for eradication or have not moved to poppy cultivation; moreover these projects are highly visible and demonstrate to farmers that the Afghan government is committed to providing alternatives to poppy production. To date, over 20,000 people have been employed on these projects, which have improved irrigation for over 8,000 hectares of farmland.
We have also launched the main component of the alternative livelihoods program. This will promote long-term comprehensive development in urban and rural areas of the principle poppy-producing provinces of Afghanistan. The program will be carried out in partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Rural Reconstruction and Development, as well as provincial and district-level representatives, in order to ensure that Afghans are closely involved in the planning and implementation of the program.
Initiatives of the Afghan government, such as the National Solidarity Program, are already in place and will complement the Agency's alternative livelihoods activities. We are also closely coordinating our work with other donors, particularly the U.K, in order to ensure that resources are most effectively allocated to the areas of highest priority.
The alternative livelihoods program is designed to respond to the needs of the local environments. However, there are a number of common activities which constitute the program.
First, a substantial effort to augment agricultural productivity and increase the production of high-value crops through the provision of agricultural inputs, training, and extension.
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Second, the development and expansion of credit markets and financial services in order to provide the stimulus needed for investment in local businesses both on and off the farm. Business development services will complement these financial services by providing training in accounting, marketing, and the other critical aspects of business management that will increase Afghan managerial acumen and build upon the strong entrepreneurial culture that already exists in the country.
Third, the rehabilitation or construction of market centers, roads, cold storage facilities and other physical infrastructure that will provide the public goods necessary to facilitate trade and provide a platform for local businesses to grow and thrive.
Fourth, a concerted effort to develop new internal and export markets for Afghan products, in order to secure higher prices and greater trade volumes for burgeoning local businesses.
Finally, sustained engagement with local officials in order to promote policies and rules that support competition and fair business practices, and remove administrative barriers that hinder the creation, operation, and growth of local businesses.
Since there is no licit crop that can compete with the profitability of poppy production in the short term, the five components of our Alternative Livelihoods program incorporate activities that stimulate other sectors of the economy as well as agriculture. These activities are also complemented by existing USAID programs that strengthen the rule of law, which is essential for contract enforcement and transparent governance. Ongoing work in land titling is strengthening the property rights regime in Afghanistan, and will be a major spur to the provision of credit as new sources of collateral emerge. Further, our economic growth activities are identifying areas of strategic competitiveness for the Afghan economy, and these programs will be complemented by efforts to integrate Afghanistan into regional trade frameworks such as the South Asia Free Trade Agreement.
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While we are confident of our results achieved thus far and our plans for the future, we are cognizant of the challenges we may face in this counter-narcotics effort. First, security remains a vital concern. As we work in new areas there will be a need for accurate assessments of the threat situation. Second, there are varying levels of competence within local government in Afghanistan. If local leaders lack managerial capacity or political will, our progress will be hindered. Third, because poppy production is mobile, cultivation could shift to areas where there are no alternative livelihoods programs or sufficient rural development initiatives.
We are fully aware of the pitfalls. However, we believe that the full implementation of the five facets of the counter-narcotics programpublic awareness, alternative livelihoods, interdiction, eradication, and law enforcementprovides strong disincentives against growing poppy while offering concrete incentives for adopting alternative crops and obtaining sources of agricultural as well as non-agricultural employment. And it is this mix of carrots and sticks that can begin to turn the situation around.
I appreciate the opportunity to provide this information to the Committee, and will be pleased to answer questions.
RESPONSES FROM MR. DOUG WANKEL, DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF DRUG CONTROL FOR THE AMERICAN EMBASSY, TO QUESTIONS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD BY THE HONORABLE HENRY J. HYDE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, AND CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
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In the dangerous areas of Afghanistan where labs and high value targets are operating, what agency or entity on the ground will be charged with making the final call on launching operations against these targets? Will DoD have absolute veto authority on whether these aerial anti-drug missions by the new NIU are a ''go'' or a ''no-go''?
As it relates to the United States Government's drug law enforcement operations in conjunction with GOA law enforcement and in support of the Government of Afghanistan's CN strategy, DEA will be the US entity that will be responsible for planning, coordinating, deconflicting and the approving of all drug law enforcement operations in Afghanistan. As long as Afghanistan is a war zone and or the security situation is such as to warrant continued DOD support and or control, the DOD will be able to declare ''no'' or ''no go'' to DEA/GOA law enforcement operations when in the view of the DOD said law enforcement operations have the potential to threaten the security of Afghanistan or an area of Afghanistan beyond an acceptable level as determined by the DOD.
Do you see any major problems in the allocation of air time for the shared helicopter assets to be used in eradication and interdiction, as we have seen in Colombia? What criteria will be used to pick one function over another when there are competing demands for the limited number of helicopters and blade hours for missions in country?
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As the eradication program is currently configured and as the Embassy envisions poppy elimination and eradication going forward in the 2006 and 2007 timeframe, Post does not anticipate major problems in the allocation of air time for shared helicopter assets to be used for eradication and interdiction operations in Afghanistan. As regards the criteria to be utilized to determine which enforcement operation will take precedence for competing demands, the Chief of Mission, DEA and INL will resolve the matter based upon the determined priorities at the time. The Chief of Mission will be the final arbiter.
RESPONSE FROM THE HONORABLE MAUREEN E. QUINN, COORDINATOR ON AFGHANISTAN, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, TO QUESTION SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD BY THE HONORABLE TED POE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
What is the percentage of Afghans using some form of opium?
We are unaware of any recent study of the overall Afghan population's use of opium and its derivatives, including heroin. However, a 2003 survey by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shed light on the prevalence of opium and heroin use in the city of Kabul. The resulting reportwhich relied on interviews with users and with healthcare workers, teachers, government officials, and othersestimated that there were at least 10,700 opium users and 7,000 heroin users in Kabul. The report stressed that those figures were bare minimums, and that actual numbers of users may have been considerably greater. The report did not determine the rate of opium and heroin use in Kabul, although it estimated Kabul's population at the time at 2.5 million.
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Use of narcotics in Afghanistan is not surprising, given the large amount of opium that is cultivated there and the social breakdown that resulted from more than two decades of war. The Afghan government is aware of the problem; its comprehensive strategy for countering the narcotics threat includes components on drug-use prevention and treatment of users. President Karzai himself, in a speech at a counternarcotics conference in December 2004, decried heroin addiction, calling it a killer of Afghan youth and blaming it for the destruction of Afghan families.
RESPONSES FROM THE HONORABLE MAUREEN E. QUINN, COORDINATOR ON AFGHANISTAN, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, TO QUESTIONS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD BY THE HONORABLE DANA ROHRABACHER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
What is the status of the research on mycoherbicides?
As you are aware, mycoherbicides are naturally occurring enemies of unwanted plant species employed as an eradication technology. Various strains of mycoherbicides are used in commercial agriculture to control pests worldwide, including in the United States.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From 1998 to 2002, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime conducted research in Uzbekistan on the fungus Pleaspora Papaveracea. Upon completion of this research, a technical expert review panel convened by the UN concluded that Pleaspora Papaveracea indeed had potential as an agent for opium poppy eradication. However, the panel stressed that more research was required, including a study of the fungus's environmental safety.
Questions remain unanswered about the transmission range of Pleaspora Papaveracea, along with its possible impact on humans and animals, and the chance that it might mutate and attack additional species. Concerns have also been raised over a possible mycoherbicide spill-over effect, which could damage licit opium poppy crops in India and Turkey that are used to produce morphine.
Further research would require field-testing in a suitable environment, but the UN has been unable to identify a country that is willing to host additional testing. At one point the UN had hoped to conduct mycoherbicide field tests in Colombia, but the Colombian Government refused.
The chemical glyphosphate, which is currently used in Colombia for eradication, is 90 percent effective. It is approved for use in Colombia and in the United States and has been shown to have no adverse effects on human health or on the environment. We believe that if the Afghan government eventually agrees to use aerial eradication, glyphosphate would meet our needs.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Why aren't mycoherbicides being used by the United States Government in Afghanistan or elsewhere?
President Karzai, our allies, and the U.S. have agreed that the counternarcotics strategy for 2005 will focus on manual eradication, combined with law enforcement, interdiction, alternative development, and public information. If the Government of Afghanistan decides in the future to pursue other eradication options, such as aerial spraying or mycoherbicides, we would be willing to work with Afghanistan and our allies, particularly the UK, to assist in that effort.
However, considerable additional research and field-testing would be needed to determine the efficacy and environmental safety of a mycoherbicide before its widespread use to eradicate opium poppy. We therefore do not consider mycoherbicides to be a viable eradication strategy for the short or medium term.
RESPONSES FROM MICHAEL A. BRAUN, SPECIAL AGENT, CHIEF OF OPERATIONS, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, TO QUESTIONS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD BY MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
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