British Military Commanders Criticize Afghan Drug War

The Independent is reporting tonight that British military commanders are privately condemning plans to use Helmand Province, the embattled province in which the bulk of the British military force operates, into a launching pad for a broad NATO war against drug trafficking.

The British military has long resisted a role in the Afghan drug war, and fears that the new operation will create another tier of enemies, those involved in the drug trade, to fight alongside the already unwieldy battle with the Taliban. Britain is supporting the US-sponsored initiative over the objections of the military commanders on the ground.

American General and NATO’s Supreme Commander for Europe Gen. John Craddock harshly condemned last month those allies who were expressing similar concerns to the British commanders. In a terse press conference he said he was tired of explaining the importance of the drug war, and answered those who fear it would make matters worse with “how can it be any worse?”

Evidently it can be worse, as Admiral Michael Mullen predicted just days later that the situation in Afghanistan would in fact get worse next year. With violence already at its highest levels since the 2001 invasion, Britain’s commanders appear concerned about adding further fuel to the out-of-control fire that if southern Afghanistan.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.