NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA THESIS Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited OPIUM IN AFGHANISTAN: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE COUNTERDRUG STRATEGIES OF COLOMBIA by Scott R. Whittenburg December 2009 Thesis Advisor: Michael Freeman Second Reader: Leo Blanken
iREPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGEForm Approved OMB No. 0704-0188Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instruction, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Washington headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports, 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, Arlington, VA 22202-4302, and to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (0704-0188) Washington DC 20503.1. AGENCY USE ONLY (Leave blank)2. REPORT DATEDecember 2009 3. REPORT TYPE AND DATES COVEREDMaster’s Thesis 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Opium in Afghanistan: Lessons Learned from the Counterdrug Strategies of Colombia6. AUTHOR(S)Scott R. Whittenburg 5. FUNDING NUMBERS 7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) Naval Postgraduate School Monterey, CA 93943-5000 8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION REPORT NUMBER9. SPONSORING /MONITORING AGENCY NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) N/A 10. SPONSORING/MONITORING AGENCY REPORT NUMBER11. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTESThe views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government. 12a. DISTRIBUTION STATEMENTApproved for public release; distribution is unlimited 12b. DISTRIBUTION CODE13. ABSTRACT (maximum 200 words) The paper conducts an analysis of the current counterdrug operation in Afghanistan and analyzes how these operations affect the counterinsurgent operations against the Taliban. This analysis will be conducted by examining the Taliban’s control of opium cultivation to support their operations, determine how the people of Afghanistan rely upon the profits of opium for their livelihood, and identify possible solutions to the opium trade that will not alienate the people of Afghanistan from the Afghan government or Coalition Forces. This study will utilize a case study on Colombia in order to examine the policies implemented in an attempt to control the country’s illicit cocaine trade. The intent of this study can be explained in four steps. First is to examine counterdrug strategies. Second is to conduct a case study of Colombia in order to examine the strategies used to counter their illicit drug trade. Third is to gain an understanding of what drives the Afghan people to produce opium, and how the Taliban exploits this need. Fourth is the recommendation of a proper counterdrug strategy to be implemented in Afghanistan.