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Afghanistan, Plan Colombia and Drug Eradication: Problems and Solutions

Submitted by dguard on
Recent increases in opium production in Afghanistan presents a Catch-22 to U.S. policymakers. On the one hand, a November 2006 United Nations and World Bank report found that forced eradication of opium crops is driving poor Afghans into the hands of the Taliban, empowering crime syndicates and destabilizing the country. On the other hand, doing nothing about the heroin trade allows major drug traffickers to enrich themselves unfettered. Is there a third option? Rep. Carnahan has suggested licensing Afghan farmers to grow opium for legal pain medications, the way the international community diminished the drug trafficking problem in India and Turkey. Senator Sununu has suggested the U.S. buy the opium crops from the farmers and destroy them. Senator Biden has suggested switching the focus away from poor farmers towards disrupting the drug cartels that are moving the drugs. Some experts suggest building roads and schools and providing alternative employment to poor Afghans. Others suggest ending drug prohibition all together. This panel explores the problems posed by both opium production and opium eradication and offers possible solutions. It looks at not only what is going on in Afghanistan right now, but lessons that can be learned from eradication policies in Latin America and elsewhere. Speakers include: Vanda Felbab-Brown, Ph.D. - Research Fellow at the the Brookings Institution Ted Galen Carpenter - Vice President for Foreign Policy and Defense Studies at the Cato Institute Ethan Nadelmann – Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance Sanho Tree – Director of the Drug Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Please RSVP to Grant Smith at [email protected] or 202-216-0035. Space is Limited. Snacks and beverages provided

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