Counternarcotics have a history of controversy and importance in Afghanistan, and efforts to implement them alongside counterinsurgency doctrines are analysed in this article. The author suggests that justifications for such hybrid doctrines, in the form of links between narco-traffickers and insurgents, are tenuous and exaggerated. Additionally, the implementation of such doctrines comes at a severe cost for parallel efforts to gain local support. These claims are made alongside an examination of the economic reasoning behind poppy cultivation, misguided priorities in counternarcotics targeting and the backlash that such efforts elicit in a significant section of the population. As such, a policy of embedding counternarcotics task forces with counterinsurgency forces is at best counterproductive, and likely strengthens local insurgency movements.
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