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US Spent Nearly $9 Billion to Fight Afghan Illicit Drugs, Says SIGAR

10 Nov 2019 Middle East Press

KABUL (MEP) – The United States has spent nearly $9 billion for its unsuccessful counternarcotic (CN) efforts in Afghanistan since FY 2002. According to the number and huge expense, Afghanistan still tops the world drug producing countries, MEP reports. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) claims that the US has spent $8.94 billion to fight illicit drugs in Afghanistan since 2002. Based on the SIGAR report (citing UNODC), the value of illicit drugs was greater than the value of the country’s legally exported products in 2017 and 2018. The report states that although Afghanistan’s area under opium-poppy cultivation fell by 20% in 2018, it remained at the second-highest level. Also, according to the report the recent decrease was due to a lack of rain that affected growing, rather than counter-narcotics efforts. Opium-poppy cultivation has become a crucial element in the livelihood of many Afghans. Significantly, more Afghans are engaged in cultivation, work in poppy fields, or are involved in the illicit drug trade, than the total number of personnel in the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). But the Afghan Ministry of Interior denies and challenges the report. Meanwhile, it has been repeatedly stated that armed opposition groups use drugs to fund and equip themselves.

Original Link: https://middleeastpress.com/english/us-spent-nearly-9-billion-to-fight-afghan-illicit-drugs-says-sigar/

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