Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 16, 2005

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For IMMEDIATE Release

War on Narcotics in Afghanistan
Hyde schedules Thursday hearing on efforts to curb drug trade
 

BACKGROUND:  Opium and heroin make up an estimated 60 percent of  Afghanistan’s GDP -- including a tripling of opium production in 2004 -- with an estimated value of $2 billion. Afghanistan currently produces 87 percent of the world’s opium, which generates more than 500 metric tons of morphine/heroin, mostly for use in Europe and Asia.  Less than seven percent comes to the U.S., but the vast amount of illicit drug proceeds are funneled to al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their terrorist allies.  The U.S. military has been reluctant to fight illicit narcotics because destruction of opium poppy will likely foster anti-American sentiment among rural Afghans and possibly incite terrorist acts.  The British government has been designated the lead nation for the counter-narcotic efforts by the coalition forces, though their efforts are modest and limited.  Because of the strong Karzai government reaction against aerial spraying of the opium crop, the Bush Administration is undertaking a modest manual eradication plan.  The Administration has proposed a $773 million counter-narcotics strategy for Afghanistan focused on five issues: public information, law enforcement, alternative livelihoods, interdiction, and eradication. 

WHAT:     Full Committee Oversight Hearing:  U.S. Counternarcotics Policy in Afghanistan:  Time for Leadership

       U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), Chairman

WHEN:      11:00 a.m., Thursday, March 17, 2005

WHERE:    Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:  Maureen E. Quinn, Coordinator on Afghanistan, U.S. Department of State; Mary Beth Long, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counternarcotics, U.S. Department of Defense; Michael A. Braun, Special Agent, Chief of Operations, Drug Enforcement Administration.

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