Friday, 19 September 2008

US to Allies: NATO Should Fight a War on Drugs in Afghanistan

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has flown into London for the NATO meeting. He has asked ministers to consider taking on the drug lords in Afghnaistan as part of their mission there, saying: "It seems to me that if we or ISAF encounter the opportunity to take out drug labs, or to arrest or take action against drug lords, kingpins, that's an opportunity, given how tied in it is with all the other issues in Afghanistan that that's something we ought to be willing to take on in some way."

Other NATO nations have been extremely reluctant to do this, with the UK, for example, going out of their way to tell residents of Helmand province that their mission is to fight the Taliban, not combat the trade in heroin.

Gates announcement is part of a Bush administration review of strategy in Afghnaistan, and the role of the NATO mission - ISAF - inthe country will make up a major part of deliberations in London.

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