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U.S. Military Chief Says Colombia 'Good Model' For Afghan Drug War --> Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, January 11 (epa) January 20, 2007 -- The United States' top military official says U.S.-backed anti-drug and counterinsurgency operations in Colombia could serve as a "good model" for the Afghan government in its battle against opium production and drug trafficking.

General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Afghan authorities could learn from Colombia's campaign to clear areas of armed groups and provide relief and jobs programs for poor residents.

Pace made the remarks yesterday during a visit to Colombia, the world's largest producer of cocaine.

Colombia's defense minister, Juan Manuel Santos, said Colombia is ready to increase its participation in the training of Afghan security personnel.

Earlier this week, U.S. President George W. Bush nominated the current U.S. ambassador to Colombia, William Wood, to be the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

The United States provides hundreds of millions of dollars to Colombia annually to eradicate coca fields and train troops to fight rebel guerrillas.

(AP, Reuters)

Opium In Afghanistan
An antidrug billboard in Kabul shows a skeleton hanging from an opium bulb (AFP)

OPIUM FARMING ON THE RISE Despite a nationwide program by the Afghan government to eradicate opium-poppy fields and offer farmers alternative crops, international experts say that the 2006 opium crop will be as much as 40 percent larger than the previous year's. Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium in the world, and the source of as much as 90 percent of Europe's heroin.(more)


Narcotics Supply Reduced, But Afghanistan Still Suffering

Saffron Could Help Wean Farmers Off Opium Poppies

Poppy-Eradication Drive Launched In Western Province

Insurgency Gains Ground As Poppy-Eradication Efforts Struggle

UN Drug Agency Promotes 'Alternative Development' For Curbing Poppy Cultivation


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