A US anti-narcotics program in Afghanistan has raised tensions, undermined security and endangered Australian and Dutch soldiers’ lives, a respected international foreign policy think tank has warned.
The Senlis Council claims the US Government brushed aside Australian and Dutch concerns to ram through an ill-conceived poppy eradication program in Oruzgan province, which has undermined military reconstruction efforts and created a pool of new Taliban sympathisers. […]
Speaking by telephone from Kabul yesterday, Ms Macdonald said the Dutch, who have administrative control over the province, had opposed the poppy eradication plan on the grounds it would undermine security.
Despite the objections of the Dutch Development Minister who visited Oruzgan to reassure the local Government of his opposition to the plan, US contractors and members of the Afghan police went ahead with the operation, which ran into immediate trouble, she said. […]
The article strongly suggests that a suicide attack that targeted an Australian army patrol near Tarin Kowt was the result of tensions stirred up by the counter-narcotics program and its impact on impoverished local farmers.
Asked if DynCorp’s operations in Oruzgan had increased the security risk for Australian soldiers, Ms Macdonald replied: “It absolutely has. It’s a failed counter-narcotics policy and it undermines the military presence.”
US plans for aerial spraying in the province would only further aggravate local tensions, she warned.
With our allies’ troops’ lives endangered by our stupid obsessions, it will become harder and harder to enlist them in the failed drug war.