U.S. faults friends, foes in drug war


By Matthew Lee WASHINGTON, AP

The United States said top anti-terror allies Afghanistan, Pakistan and Colombia had fallen short in the war on drugs despite enhanced counter-narcotics efforts and it criticized perennial foes Iran, North Korea and Venezuela for not cooperating.

The State Department also noted backsliding in some key Latin American nations like Bolivia and Peru while it praised improved performances by traditional transshipment countries in Asia, notably China and Thailand, but slammed neighboring Myanmar for illicit drug production.

In its annual global survey of the drug war, released Thursday, the department said massive opium poppy production in Afghanistan, long the world’s top producer of the main ingredient for heroin, continued to pose a major threat due to its links with groups such as the Taliban.

“Afghanistan’s huge drug trade undercuts efforts to rebuild the economy and develop a strong democratic government based on the rule of law,” the department said in the 2007 International Narcotic Control Strategy Report.

“There is strong evidence that narcotics trafficking is linked to the Taliban insurgency. These links between drug traffickers and anti-government forces threaten regional stability,” the department said.

It added that endemic “corruption” and prevailing “dangerous security conditions” were seriously hindering efforts to combat poppy production that shot up 26 percent to 5,644 tons (5,120 metric tons) from 2005 to 2006 and accrcement and local officials, had hurt Pakistan’s efforts and “is likely to be associated with the movement of large quantities of narcotics and precursor chemicals.”

Iran, a member oz, Venezuela was cited by the U.S. in both 2005 and 2006 as having “failed demonstrably” to comply with its international anti-drug commitments, a situation that remains constant, the department said.

Because of this, it said, “organi the Reds team which will play South Africa’s Lions in Brisbane on Saturday. Walker, 33, has previously played under Reds coach Eddie Jones for the ACT Brumbies and the Wallabies.