By Julien Mercille for Open Democracy. Since 2001, the United States has spent over $700 billion on the war in Afghanistan. In contrast, it has spent only $7 billion on counternarcotics operations there. What should we conclude from the fact that the ‘drug war’ in Afghanistan accounts for a mere 1% of total expenses? We should conclude that drugs are not a priority for US foreign policy, and never have been. The US government has no serious interest in tackling drug problems. In fact, if it did, its strategy would be the exact opposite of what it has been doing for several decades now.
There has not been a real drug war in Afghanistan, and therefore, although drug production has not been reduced, this is not really a failure, as the drug war’s function is more about representing enemies like the Taliban in a negative way to reinforce support for the war in the west.