About the Author: Jennifer Vitela serves as Assistant Information Officer at U.S. Embassy Kabul.
In support of Afghanistan's fight against illegal drugs, Deputy Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne participated in the Grand Opening Ceremony for the new Counternarcotics Police of Afghanistan Headquarters Compound in Kabul on June 17, 2010.
“The international community, together with the citizens of Afghanistan, applaud the Counternarcotics Police of Afghanistan. We appreciate the fact that CNPA officers put themselves at great risk to fight the scourge of illegal drugs,” said Ambassador Wayne.
During the ceremony, Ambassador Wayne announced that the U.S. government's support of $12.9 million to build the compound in Kabul will be augmented with $3.9 million annually for operations and maintenance at the facility. The CNPA's new headquarters will improve coordination efforts to combat the illegal drug trade because now the organization's leadership will be located in a single facility.
“The narcotics trade and its resulting negative effects are among the greatest challenges facing Afghanistan today. The illicit drug trade funds those who stand against Afghanistan and harms many innocent Afghans,” said Ambassador Wayne.
Ambassador Wayne announced that the Embassy has asked the U.S. government for $250 million this year to support counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan. This figure is in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the international community and the United States Agency for International Development to support licit economic opportunities in recent years.
Mohammed Fahim, the First Vice President of Afghanistan, thanked the United States for its support and said he hoped in the future that Afghanistan would be able to stand on its own feet and be an equal partner in fighting illegal drugs. He added, “The trade and cultivation of narcotics is banned under Islam and we should do everything in our power to stop it.”
The CNPA is mandated as the lead agency charged with enforcing the counternarcotics laws of Afghanistan. The new five hectare CNPA Headquarters facility will bring together in one location major counternarcotics and rule of law-related institutions, including the Counternarcotics Justice Center, the National Interdiction Unit Compound, the Sensitive Investigations Unit Compound, and the Afghan Marshal Service Compound.
The CNPA is currently allocated 3725 positions and is expected to grow in the coming year. In addition to the uniformed force, the CNPA features three specialized units: the National Interdiction Unit (NIU) and the Sensitive Investigations Unit (SIU), mentored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as the Aviation Interdiction Unit (AIU), mentored by the Department of Defense.