Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman
CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, February 10, 2004
For IMMEDIATE Release
Hyde Schedules Oversight Hearing Examining
Between Terrorism and Heroin Trade in Afghanistan
BACKGROUND: According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), opium production accounts for more than 50 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP), generating an estimated $2 billion annually in economic activity. The Afghan government estimates that 30 percent of families are involved in some form of opium cultivation and production. This production, and associated crime, undermines security, finances terrorism and poses a grave potential for massive, drug-related, corruption at all levels in the fledgling government in Kabul. When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, decrees against opium were issued, creating the impression that the Taliban were serious in the war on drugs. However, in fact, the Taliban were merely regulating the drug trade in order to share in its profits. Moreover, Al-Qaida members often provided security for the drug trade. Both then and now, people have found it easy to move between terrorism and drug trafficking. By taking on the drug war, coalition forces can make Afghanistan more secure. In a synergistic fashion, these forces will be able to develop better intelligence about the Taliban, Hizb-I Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), and Al-Qaida by bringing the fight to them and ensure that Afghanistan does not emerge as a "narco-state."
WHAT: Oversight hearing: Afghanistan: Drugs and Terrorism and U.S. Security Policy
WHEN: 10 a.m., Thursday, February 12, 2004
WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
WITNESSES: U.S. Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, (R-IL); Robert B. Charles, Assistant Secretary, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State; William B. Taylor, Jr., Coordinator for Afghanistan, U.S. Department of State; Karen P. Tandy, Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration; Thomas W. O’Connell, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, U.S. Department of Defense; and Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, Director for Political-Military Affairs, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Among the questions expected to be addressed during the hearing:
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