Why Afghanistan Should Not Be Certified on the Basis of the 2009 INCSR

Afghanistan should not be certified on the basis of the 2009 INCSR report. Examination of the issues of concern raised in the report indicates that the situation in Afghanistan is still wanting and some measures need to be taken before this country can be considered for certification.
The Report
The 2009 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is a United States annual report prepared by the Department of State for the Congress. The report describes the steps taken in some particular countries in order to combat international drug trade in year 2008. The conclusions of the report show the analysis of the international drug control and money laundering situation in the calendar year 2008

On releasing the Report, Assistant Secretary Johnson said that Afghanistans narcotics situation remained very serious. Afghanistan is the largest grower of opium poppy in the world. Though some progress was made in 2008 when poppy cultivation went down by 19 percent and the number of poppy growing provinces decreased by 5, the largest volume of the drug in the world still came from this country. The Southern provinces of Afghanistan near the borders of Pakistan and Iran produce most of the drug. The drug is then transited via Uzbekistan to Russia and Europe and then to the rest of the world. Money from the drug trade has been used to fund insurgency and terrorism and in these poppy growing provinces, making it difficult for the central government as well as the provincial governments to eradicate the cultivation.

Severity of the Drug Problem
In order to depict a clear picture of the severity of the problem, I am going to look at some facts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2004). approximately 19 million Americans are drug addicts and use illicit drugs a least once in a month and this translates to 60 billion per year in the bitty criminal market (Mexican Cops in Border Trade, 200223). Among other things, drugs damage the health, judgment, productivity and wellbeing of those who use them. The illegal drug business in the US generates enormous amounts of income yearly. These huge profits that are generated provide the drug trafficking organizations with means to avoid comprehension and sometimes compete with the law enforcing institutions. They sometimes even go as far as challenging the authority of national governments. More than four fifths of all the drugs that are consumed in the US come from outside the US.  Drug Enforcement Administration reports show that methamphetamine is supplied mostly from laboratories in both the United States and Mexico while most of the hallucinogens and illicit psychotherapy drugs come from within the US.

Drugs business is lucrative and at the same time the hub to most criminal activities. The knowledge on the distribution of revenue from illicit drug sales is not enough, but it is worrying that the cartels in the business exercise considerable control over wholesale distribution in the US and illicit proceeds are often laundered and invested through foreign banks and financial institutions.

Law enforcement
The US international narcotics control strategy is to develop host governments seize illicit narcotics before they reach Americas borders. It is also supposed to attack and disrupt large aggregates of criminal power, to immobilize their top leaders and to sever drug traffickers links to the economy and to the political hierarchy. However the certification process has been an ineffective tool for drug control. This can be connoted from the early 1997 following to 1998 when the Clinton administration set off a firestorm on Capitol Hill with its drug certification decisions. It was agreed that a list with detailed demands to Mexico, and to see who could champion the largest packages of arms and training for military and police in Columbia (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime2005 12). Unfortunately this didnt take place and in relation to this, there is need more than a repeat from lawmakers in the years to come and they should foresee their implementation.

The US policy on drugs has been an ineffective tool for drug control and has undermined other US interests (Straziuso 20067). The policymakers should avoid transferring blame to other nations and instead divert their efforts to establishing a more effective multilateral structure for preventing the violence and corruption of the drug trade. The efforts to drastically minimize the flow of illicit drugs from abroad into the US have failed drastically. Over the past decade, the production of illicit drugs has risen steadily with opium and Bhang doubling and the fabrication of coca tripled. The effectiveness of the international narcotics control program should explain this.

P.L. 106-246 universally known as plan Columbia is a 1.3 billion military assistance to avail assistance which is focused on providing emergency supplemental narcotics assistance to Columbia and was signed into law by July 13, 2000 (Straziuso 20066). Afterwards, US policy for Columbia is to focus on containing the terrorist threat to that countrys security posed by groups engaged in drug trafficking. This has resulted to terror groups being linked to trafficking and even abusing drugs which bears truth to some extent. For Columbia this is practical but I would like to put this court into task in explaining any acts either reported or not in Columbia. Why shouldnt the efforts be redirected to the skyrocketing opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan There are a lot of terror activities in Afghanistan, what have the policy makers done for the country because that is the main exporter of drugs to other countries and because of the enormous amounts of money garnered from the practice they dispose off the money in terrorism related activities.

Enacted by the Narcotics Congress in 1986, the certification process was aimed at pressing the administration to demand for counter narcotics measures by governments of other countries. Each year the administration produces a list showing the major producers of drugs. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (2002) the countries recorded in the list in 2007 went as high as 30 and there were no sanctions that were affected by the US government to ensure compliance with the provisions of the anti-narcotic act. The sanctions would include withdrawal of US foreign assistance and opposition to loans that those countries seek from any multilateral development banks. The administration has powers to waive sanctions against a country that is not fully certified, if is considers in so doing its imperative national interests will be appraised. Let this court explain on what it has done to this list and is it not likely to escalate in future because as per my conscience the list is their and there is nothing which has been done. Or is there any other way that the US government is dealing with the countries in the list and what does this court think of the list.

The current US policy on drugs has three shortfalls and first in the list is that it sends mixed signals to other countries about the rewards or punishments in the war against drugs. For example in 1997 there were repeated hearings about the inadequacy in Mexicos drug control effort and it was clear from this that the administration and congregational leadership would not permit the country to be decertified because it was its major trading (Office of National Drug Control Policy, 200226). Let this honorable court deny that and if so offer an explanation to the same and if not shed light to the whole US about the matter. Secondly the process repeatedly fosters misunderstanding. In some instances, reluctant governments have been pushed to crack down on cartels, expand eradication, or permit the US ships to pursue traffickers into their territorial waters. This impression comes with a high cost and the government is aware of the same, what has it done to reverse the same. Thirdly the most important certification represents and stresses a misguided broader US international drug control strategy that is aimed at curbing the entry of illegal drugs into US. The strategy has failed terribly as evident from the statement from the General Accounting Office that, despite long-standing efforts and expenditures of billions of dollars, illegal drugs still flood the USalthough efforts by the US and host countries have resulted in some success they have not materially reduced the availability of the drugs.

Certification of Afghanistan
Chapter 8, section 481 (h) of the Foreign Assistance Act connects foreign donation to positive drug-control performance (Perl, 1989). The law requires that the president certifies whether a major producing and drug transit company has cooperated fully with the US or has taken enough measures on its own to prevent illicit drug trafficking, drug related money laundering and drug related corruption. A later amendment to the act required that countries should take adequate steps to implement the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention. According to Perl (1989) four outcomes of the certification statute deliberation possible are as follows

Full and unconditional certification
Qualified certification for countries that would otherwise qualify on the grounds that the interest of the United States requires the provision of foreign assistance.
Denial or certification.

Congressional disapproval or a presidential certification, which causes statutory sanctions to be imposed.

The annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report which is prepared by the US provides the factual basis for the presidents decision or certification (Perl, 1989). The certification statute introduces the concept of variability by using Phrases such as cooperated fully, taken adequate steps and maximum achievable reductions. Judgments on a countries relative capability to perform are important factors in making certification decisions each March, these generate spirited debate between legislative and executive branches of the US government. In addition, this very public decision-making produces tensions between the US and the countries in question.

My opinion is that Afghanistan should not be certified on the basis of the 2009 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. The situation in Afghanistan should be considered very serious until the U.S. and other world big powers provide enough assistance to the government of Afghanistan (both central and provincial) which seem powerless in tackling this lucrative illegal business. This should be backed up by a commitment to take all the steps necessary to control and treat drug trade with the urgency it deserves.


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