Pentagon Creates "Kill or Capture" List for Afghan Drug Traffickers

The U.S. is changing policy in the war against Afghan drug traffickers. A new report to be released this week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says the U.S. will now keep a list of wanted Afghan drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban and hunt them down with orders to capture or kill them.

Fifty Afghans believed to be drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban have been placed on a Pentagon target list to be captured or killed, reflecting a major shift in American counternarcotics strategy in Afghanistan, according to a Congressional study to be released this week.

...United States military commanders have told Congress that they are convinced that the policy is legal under the military’s rules of engagement and international law. They also said the move is an essential part of their new plan to disrupt the flow of drug money that is helping finance the Taliban insurgency.

No trial? Just shoot to kill? Wow. [More..]

What does it take to get on the list?

The generals told Senate staff members that two credible sources and substantial additional evidence were required before a trafficker was placed on the list, and only those providing support to the insurgency would be made targets.

There are now 367 people on the "kill or capture" list, including 50 traffickers the military believes gives money to the Taliban.

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    So...if our military narcocops (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by ruffian on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 02:46:13 PM EST
    can shoot to kill in Afghanistan, what's to stop them in L.A.?

    "Believed to be" doesn't cut it with (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 02:48:40 PM EST

    Throwing human rights out the window.... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 02:55:09 PM EST
    left and right I see...boy am I glad the Republicans aren't in power anymore!

    Winning Hearts & Minds... not (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by squeaky on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 03:29:15 PM EST

    If they have met the criteria (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 05:46:25 PM EST
    to get NATO to sign on for this, which it sounds like they have, then I'm okay with this while knowing that a dead trafficker can supply no intel so capture will be the option of choice.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by AlkalineDave on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 10:47:50 AM EST
    capture is definitely more beneficial, but if it's kill or be killed sorry it's a war, shooting happens.  What's our option?  Is it rushing in like SWAT, arresting them, and then trial?  I would think will do everything to apprehend them (for the intel), and if we can't we'll end up in a firefight which means someone will get shot.  

    That's basically the way it is isn't it :) ? (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 02:12:46 PM EST
    I was surprised on this blog not long ago at how many of my friends wanted to grant officer Crowley all sorts of automatic rights to authority.  I think that is because at the end of most days, police officers in our lives do more of what we all deem good for the civilized society we want to live in.  In Afghanistan there is no community agreed upon, recognized, or censured authority.

    I heard the same things about the (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by AlkalineDave on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 03:20:49 PM EST
    Crowley situation.  You shouldn't talk to a cop like that!  Why, because he's a cop he doesn't have to hear something he doesn't like?  I had a Marine where a cop used excessive force breaking her arm and damagin her radial nerves.  A fellow Marine bsaically said she shouldn't have been in trouble in the first place, that it was her fault, and the cop was justified.  I shot back that he should have raped her while he was at it then.  I usually take it to the absurd degree when I hear and absurd line of reasoning.  

    Just Buy the Whole Crop !!!! (none / 0) (#3)
    by bselznick on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 02:53:44 PM EST
    Damn the stupidity.  I presume the US, EU, and Middle Eastern coutries would like to get rid of the entire poppy crop for numerous reasons.  Have each group pitch in 1.0 billion and just buy it all up.  Last I read the entire Afghan crop was valued at 3.4 billion.  Perhaps if you pay up front in cash they'll discount the .4 billion and make it a nice even 3.0 billion dollars.  

    I'm sure the US and the EU spend more than that to deal with this crop in terms of fighting the international drug trade and terrorism that results from its harvest and sale on the black market.  Buy it all, convert what you will into medicines for world consumption and destroy the rest.  

    Plus you can make good connections with the farmers and encourage them to grow something else next year that you'll buy.  

    Which is more reasonable, buy the whole damn crop or go to war over the damn crop?

    Why not grow our own? (none / 0) (#19)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 07:12:15 AM EST
    Why support terrorists?  And tribal warlords?

    If the Taliab was building schools for girls and providing medical care and contraception, then I'd be all for providing support for them.

    But they aren't.  The Taliban are a destabilizing force in multiple nations in the region.

    (I'm sure the assumption was that we would cut the middleman out, but we would literally have to go directly to the growers which is difficult in a country that lacks infrastructure.)


    I know a lot of soldiers that want to buy the (none / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 02:16:41 PM EST
    whole crop.  The Taliban pays sh*t and most of the time they are threatening you while you are trying to grow your crop.  It would be very easy to cut them out of the picture I would think.  You watch though, I'm thinking that is going to be part of the solutions employed.  We'll buy what the farmers have and begin to reintroduce another profitable crop.  

    The Taliban uses both (none / 0) (#25)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 02:52:43 PM EST
    the carrot AND the stick.

    They want their poppies!  Sure they pay far too little for the poppy crop - because they can.  They can also threaten the farmers if they don't grow the cash crop that the Taliban wants.

    Carrot - Grow poppies and we'll buy the opium.
    Stick - Don't grow poppies or fail to sell to us and we'll make sure you regret that decision.

    The news reports (NPR) are that the American forces have problems finding local takers for jobs when they set up new bases.  It's not the money - almost everyone in the country needs the wages.  It's the fear that they and their families may pay dearly for drawing an American paycheck.

    When I say "a destabilizing force", I am very serious.  


    Well I'm fine with us paying more (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 03:22:21 PM EST
    and then when the Taliban shows up to  threaten or harm...taking them out.  I'm fine destabilizing the Taliban.  Protecting the population in Afghanistan that desires a functioning society is our only real option in my opinion.

    ...and then there's Pakistan (none / 0) (#28)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 05:15:20 PM EST
    who smacked down a Taliban insurgency just this year - after the government was forced to act.  They had had a wink and a nod agreement with the Taliban - past tense.  

    The Taliban operates in multiple countries.  It's going to be hard to stamp out.  The only hope that Afghanistan has is a strong central government plus sufficient infrastructure to reach the remote places the Taliban preys on.  Unfortunately, this hasn't happened yet no matter who was in charge.

    It reminds me of the term "the king's highway" - a road that the King was obligated to keep clear of robbers, thieves and highwayman so that merchants could use the roads to transport their goods.  Roads are more than just neutral chunks of infrastructure - they are a valuable strategic to whoever controls them.


    "The U.S. is changing policy (none / 0) (#5)
    by desertswine on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 03:09:07 PM EST
    in the war against Afghan drug traffickers."


    Sat., June 27, 2009
    TRIESTE, Italy - The United States announced a new drug policy Saturday for opium-rich Afghanistan, saying it was phasing out funding for eradication efforts and using the money for drug interdiction and alternate crop programs instead.

    Somewhere in this world, there are things called logic and coherence. But not here.                                            

    Whatever happened to replacing the opium with soybeans or watercress or whatever.  

    Well, arugula (none / 0) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 05:44:50 PM EST
    is still a contender, but we are awaiting the results of the comprehensive review.  In the meanwhile, will will proceed with this hit list and send in more troops.

    Deja vu all over again? (none / 0) (#6)
    by EL seattle on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 03:09:19 PM EST
    Maybe they'll just have to change the lyrics for the new game plan.

    Choosing sides with traffickers to drive the Taliban away.
    Is this a trick they learned from the old-school CIA?

    (apologies to a.g.)

    Oops. (none / 0) (#8)
    by EL seattle on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 03:12:45 PM EST
    Or maybe... this link.

    It is akin to bombing the (none / 0) (#7)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 03:11:39 PM EST
    ball bearing plane in Schwienfort or not?

    plant not plane (none / 0) (#10)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 03:38:23 PM EST
    Ahmad Wali Khan Karzai (none / 0) (#13)
    by weltec2 on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 07:30:06 PM EST
    is the younger brother of Hamid Karzai. Besides being a powerful political presence, he is one of the major heroin producers in the Kandahar Province.

    The Taliban hate oipum and historically have only allowed it to be grown, synthesized, and shipped if used and sold outside of the region to non-Muslims. Hamid Karzai, however, has allowed it to be widely used inside Afghanistan and has regularly resisted Western attempts to put an end to it while he (and his family) has turned enormous profits off of it.

    If Obama is doing anything at all to put an end to Hamid's policies then it is an enormous change from Bush who turned a blind eye to it.

    Killing off the competition. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Ben Masel on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 08:56:37 PM EST
    More profit for OUR heroin dealers.

    It is war, Jeralyn. (none / 0) (#15)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 09:22:14 PM EST

    We're having (none / 0) (#16)
    by eric on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 10:37:26 PM EST
    an economic crisis over here in the "homeland", budgets are being cut, people (teachers, cops, government employees generally) are being furloughed or laid off, services are being cut, roads aren't being built or repaired, etc.  How can we afford to be creating kill or capture lists?

    With opium playing such a huge part in (none / 0) (#18)
    by SeeEmDee on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 06:11:39 AM EST
    the lives of so many Afghans, that's going to become quite a huge list. What's that line about "Kill them all; let God decide"? Is that where this is leading?

    wow... (none / 0) (#20)
    by wilco on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 09:57:46 AM EST
    ...and all this under President Barack Obama.  None of you mentioned that.

    Obama, like Bush:

    1.  Still funds Blackwater thugs
    2.  Still hides behind the un-Patriot Act
    3.  Still hides behind all Bush executive orders
    4.  Still holds 'enemy combatants' in an unconstitutional manner.
    5. Still wages a war that cannot be won.

    glass? (none / 0) (#21)
    by wilco on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 10:24:00 AM EST
    I dated a lady whose ex-hubby worked for Blackwater.  He used to say "nuke the middle-east and turn the sand into glass... cuz you can drill through glass for oil no problem".  Thats the mentality - just shoot and ask questions later, their just Hajiis.