Colombia – a model for U.S. dealings wtih Afghanistan?
After more than seven years of U.S.-financed fumigation and eradication, Colombia is still producing at least 600 tonnes of cocaine a year. The U.N. estimated this month that coca leaf used to produce the drug covered 27 percent more land in 2007 than a year earlier. Violence from Colombia’s guerrilla war may have fallen sharply thanks to Washington’s funds, but the success of the anti-narcotics portion of the U.S. program is far less clear.
Now U.S. officials are touting their lessons in dealing with Colombian guerrillas as a possible model for fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and the poppy harvests and opium that help fuel that conflict. Can the U.S. really claim success against Colombia’s coca trade and what if anything from Colombia can be applied to Afghanistan’s war?