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Today, while illicit cultivation remains a significant challenge, we are encouraged that only 17 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces cultivated poppy in 2012, compared to 33 of 34 provinces in 2004.
Development Aid Helps Afghan Provinces Work To Reduce Poppy Cultivation
February 28, 2013
On February 12, U.S. Ambassador Stephen G. McFarland and Afghanistan’s Minister for Counter Narcotics, Zarar Moqbel Osmani signed an agreement allocating $18.2 million for GPI-supported programs.
Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has stunted the country’s ability to reach its full potential. The narcotics trade funds the insurgency, generates corruption, slows the development of the licit economy, and undermines the rule of the law. INL understands the challenges faced by a country responsible for producing over 80 percent of the world’s opium. Through the Good Performers Initiative (GPI) awards, we and our Afghan partners, continue to successfully demonstrate that the Afghan people can combat the narcotics trade which is evident by the outstanding performance of 17 provinces in the elimination of opium poppy cultivation in 2012.
On February 12, 2013, U.S. Embassy Coordinating Director for Rule of Law and Law Enforcement Ambassador Steve McFarland and Afghanistan’s Minister for Counter Narcotics, Zarar Moqbel Osmani signed an agreement allocating $18.2 million for development assistance in 21 provinces. Provinces that achieved poppy-free status in 2012, reduced poppy cultivation by more than ten percent from the previous year, or made other exceptional counternarcotics efforts received the awards. GPI seeks to combat poppy cultivation through an innovative political incentive program that delivers high-impact development assistance while helping to improve communities by driving down poppy cultivation.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ambassador McFarland said, “this is an important opportunity to recognize the outstanding leadership of the Government of Afghanistan and the strong performance of numerous provinces in eliminating and reducing opium poppy cultivation in 2012.”
Today, while illicit cultivation remains a significant challenge, we are encouraged that only 17 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces cultivated poppy in 2012, compared to 33 of 34 provinces in 2004. To date, there are more than 100 GPI-funded development projects in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, including: schools, transportation infrastructure, irrigation structures, hospitals, and drug treatment centers.
INL’s programs since 2004 have helped eliminate illicit cultivation in stable areas of Afghanistan and reduced backsliding in provinces that have successfully shifted away from opium poppy.
Improving Iraqi Criminal Investigations
Communication – it keeps partnerships strong, and teams working in sync. In the Iraqi criminal justice system, better communication between police and judicial investigators means greater consensus on when to press charges and fewer cases thrown out of court. For 12 weeks from October 2012 to January 2013, INL senior police advisors in Iraq brought 21 police and judicial Iraqi “master trainers” together for the first joint comprehensive training course in basic criminal investigations.
INL police advisors, with support from European colleagues, developed the course’s standardized curriculum based on international best practices. It covers more than 30 topics, including crime scene searches, handling forensic evidence, and interviewing techniques. The course material places special emphasis on ethics and human rights, as well as investigating domestic violence and sex-related offenses.
Iraqi police leaders and the Chief Justice of Iraq intend to make the curriculum a permanent part of course requirements at their training institutes. One of the goals is to adopt similar investigative techniques so that police and judicial investigators throughout the country can ensure consistency in investigative operations, such as processing crime scenes. This consistency often leads to greater success in bringing criminals to justice. One of the officers receiving the training said, “I have never seen instruction at the level that the Americans delivered it. I have learned as much about how to teach as I did about investigations in this program.”
Since 2009, INL has partnered with the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) to provide management training to corrections officials from abroad to encourage and assist in rule of law development. Recently, the CDOC hosted a three-week training session on prison administration for prison officials from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. Held at the International Correctional Management Training Center (ICMTC), the program provided an in-depth view of how corrections systems in the U.S. work.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa corrections sector is in need of reform. The two largest prisons are at more than double their rated capacity. The majority of the prison staff is untrained and a large number of the thousands of inmates pose a national security threat to Pakistan and its neighbors. While prison administrators struggle to address these issues and cultivate a safe, secure, and humane corrections system, their facilities face myriad external threats, including floods and the potential spread of violent extremism. The challenge is even greater as officials lack the budgets and the equipment to address these problems.
Despite the challenges, prison administrators are undeterred in their goal of developing a safe, secure, and humane 21st century corrections system. Through the training program in Colorado, the group of Pakistani prison officials was able to see prisons at all levels of the security spectrum – from minimum security facilities where inmates perform work assignments to maximum security facilities. These excursions complemented classroom sessions by providing in-depth instruction on all facets of prison management. The program culminated in the Pakistani delegation’s development of a strategic plan to prioritize innovation and to change their system upon returning home.
After three weeks immersed in American culture, the trainees and their hosts gained not only cultural insight but friendship. On graduation day, a Pakistani official gave a heartfelt speech to his delegation, the ICMTC staff, and State Department representatives. He shared the knowledge he gained from his stay in Colorado and complimented the ICMTC staff’s expertise. He also expressed his sincere gratitude for the experience, commenting that he could not have imagined feeling so welcomed by the Coloradan staff and that the relationships he forged with his “new American family” would last forever.
From this experience INL is looking to build the foundations of a long-lasting partnership.
Gender-Responsive Approach To Fighting Addiction
INL’s Office of Policy, Planning and Coordination and Office of Anti-Crime Programs recently collaborated on a policy document submitted to the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) for inclusion in a forthcoming publication that seeks to promote a gender-responsive approach to drug addiction. The book, “DAWN — Drugs and Alcohol Women Network: Promoting a Gender Responsive Approach to Drug Addiction,” is a collection of best practices for crafting treatment measures for women who suffer from drugs and alcohol addiction. The book’s primary audience includes expert practitioners in the field of substance abuse treatment as well as officials in governments and international organizations engaged in this important work.
Women often suffer disproportionately from the effects of drug and alcohol addiction in traditional societies where gender roles are highly stratified and unequal. In the past thirty years, the number of women addicted to drugs and alcohol around the world has increased dramatically. Women suffering from drug and alcohol addiction are not able to participate fully in society or the economy. Studies suggest female substance abusers typically experience social stigmas that often prevent them from accessing treatment. In response to these findings, INL has focused its drug demand reduction programs on improving and expanding gender-responsive services for substance abuse rehabilitation. These programs have improved women’s social functioning and mental health, including a decrease in suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. Gender-responsive treatments give women a better opportunity to overcome their addictions, access greater social and economic opportunities and increase their participation in society.
The section of this book submitted by INL provides examples of our programs that work to address gender-specific addiction issues. For instance:
- In Colombia, an INL-funded drug treatment training initiative resulted in a reduction of female drug use by 34 percent post-treatment in the 15 treatment centers that participated in the initiative, exceeding the 15% reduction in drug use post-treatment target established prior to the program. It should be noted that the 15% reduction target is the same goal established for the United States in the National Drug Control Strategy.
- INL’s residential, outpatient, and home-based treatment programs in Afghanistan reach over 3,804 substance-abusing women per year.
INL’s work in the gender-responsiveness area helps to promote the implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. By helping women reduce drug and alcohol abuse, the chances improve for increasing female social and economic participation in their societies.
INL Opens The Gibson Training Center In Kabul, Afghanistan
After almost a year of planning and renovation, INL Kabul officially opened the Gibson Training Center (GTC) on December 1, 2012. The center, which offers a dedicated training and meeting venue, has hosted more than 24 classes in support of INL’s counternarcotics, corrections and justice programs. As of February 2013, INL-funded programs have trained over 551 Afghan professionals at the GTC, including 166 women. The GTC hosts a variety of INL-funded trainings in partnership with the Justice Sector Support Program (JSSP), Corrections System Support Program (CSSP), and Colombo Plan. Each program offers practitioners the tools to better combat the narcotics trade and improve the justice system while deepening their knowledge on a range of issues and networking at the GTC.
The facilities are designed to accommodate small and large groups ranging from a few days to several weeks. For example, beginning in January 2013, the JSSP conducted an eight-week Advanced Continuing Legal Education class comprised of 44 students including prosecutors, judges, defense lawyers, and Criminal Investigation Division officers. JSSP curriculum covered evidence analysis, the penal code, critical thinking and constitutional law among other courses. The students benefitted substantially from robust debates and interactions, simultaneously expanding their knowledge of the issues and their network of justice sector professionals from around the country.
Advancing the sustainability of existing programs under Afghan leadership is a common theme that INL works into the structure of the training programs at the GTC. Representing 14 of 34 provinces, security officials from throughout Afghanistan participated in the Executive Leadership Course where they gained both leadership skills and best practices for prison management. Following the program, Lt. General Jamsheed and Colonel Saadeqi from the Central Prisons Department gave remarks underscoring a common theme — the prison system is about more than punishment. It is about helping inmates develop skills to reintegrate into society.
Other high-level Afghan government officials have attended conferences, meetings, and graduation ceremonies at the GTC, including Counternarcotics Minister Zarar Ahmad Moqbel Osmani and Deputy Public Health Minister Basir Sarwar. A key component of INL’s transition strategy is support for Afghan government-led trainings, such as the one on security assessment conducted by the CSSP in coordination with the Central Prisons Department, which began conducting Security Assessment trainings. This is the first Afghan government-led training held at the GTC and it showcased the Afghan government’s interest and ability to host trainings at the facilities.
The GTC has grown into a fully functioning facility capable of providing a safe and comfortable learning environment for our Afghan partners. With the support of INL’s implementing partners, we expect the opportunities provided at the Gibson Training Center will prove beneficial to Afghan partners and better enable them to lead their countrymen into a safe and stable future.