I just don’t know how to square this circle:
As the United States retools its counternarcotics strategy in Afghanistan, officials are looking to Colombia for lessons.
The two nations share many burdens: Colombia is the largest supplier of cocaine in the world, Afghanistan of opium. Both have impoverished rural communities easily enticed into trafficking webs. Both are vulnerable to the sway and command of insurgent groups that finance their fight with proceeds from the drug trade…
For example, instead of pouring money into crop eradication as it did in Colombia, the new US strategy in Afghanistan will phase out eradication, and place a new emphasis on the interdiction of opium shipments and encouraging farmers to adopt alternate crops.
This is treating the drug campaign in Afghanistan as if it didn’t exist before this year. The quest to turn Afghanistan into Colombia is several years old at this point—and since importing a vigorous eradication team from Bogota didn’t work, I guess now they’re trying to replicate all that success they’ve had in interdicting Colombian cocaine.
The smuggling organizations are well-established and sophisticated. They have a recognized hierarchy and employ the latest technology, said Rafael Reyes, chief of global enforcement operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration… Reyes said that means factoring in the possibility a certain percentage of drugs will be seized by federal agents: “They’ll line up 10 loads, and if you pick off two or three, well, that’s the cost of doing business, ‘I got seven across.’ So it’s that shotgun mentality.”
The same thinking applies to drugs smuggled in the waters of the eastern Pacific off the coasts of Central and South America.
Am I reading that to wrong if I think it says the DEA admits it can only stop 20-30% of the drugs being smuggled into the U.S.? I couldn’t find a single news source that claims American success in reducing the amount of cocaine being shipped from Colombia to the United States; all the interdiction efforts have done is raise the cost of shipping cocaine to the U.S.—which ultimately results in more profit for the drug runners (at least one Mexican official estimates the drug cartels make $64 billion a year).
So… why do we want to take that model and export it to Central Asia? Anyone?