Counter-narcotic strategy in Afghanistan : internal implications and external lessons
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2008.; Includes bibliographical references. Opium poppy cultivation, production, trafficking and consumption drastically undermine the post-2001 rebuilding effort of Afghanistan and its international partners. In the context of a tenuous security situation and inherited local conditions, this thesis examines the current U.S-Afghanistan counter-narcotic strategy in order to analyze its implications for long-term development and democratization. The objective of the research is to gauge whether counter-narcotic policies, both in theory and implementation, are aligned with the mission of establishing a sustainable foundation for Afghanistan's long-term development goals.; The analysis is advanced in four major sections. First, a development model for state-building and democracy is introduced as a framework for assessing the operational environment for counter-narcotic strategy. The three primary elements of the model are: rule of law, diversified economy and governance. Second, after reviewing the existing state of these institutions, the opium industry and its various stakeholders are observed to understand the scope and fluidity of the drug trade. Third, recent U.S.-Afghanistan policies are studied to gauge the effects of implementation on the development model elements. Lastly, an historical case study of Thailand's counter-narcotic policy towards opium is considered for strategic guidance.; The inherited development environment in Afghanistan, following three decades of conflict and an ongoing insurgency, poses a significant challenge to counter-narcotic activities. Under the current process of implementation, U.S.-Afghanistan counter-narcotic strategy has the potential to compromise the long-term foundation for the rule of law, economic vitality and proper governance. In the absence of strong underlying institutions, the goal of counter-narcotic policies should be to neutralize the impact of opium in a manner that does not risk the long-term foundation for the development model elements. To this end, both strategic and tactical measures are recommended for a revision of U.S.-Afghanistan policy.; Strategically, four overarching principles need to be adopted: physical security is a precondition for counter-narcotic success, there are no silver-bullet solutions, local public opinion is a significant constraint, and the scope of government action must be reconciled with a long-term vision for development and democratization. Tactically, a series of measures are suggested for implementation in the security, economic, governance and legal sectors.
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