Counternarcotics: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan


Afghanistan’s drug trade presents a vexing challenge for policy makers in what has become America’s longest war. Despite the U.S. spending approximately $8.6 billion on counternarcotics in Afghanistan since 2002, the country is the world’s largest opium producer and opium poppy is the country’s largest cash crop. In a new lessons learned report, Counternarcotics: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction examines counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2017, providing lessons and recommendations for the U.S. government.

New America welcomes John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), for the launch of the new SIGAR report. New America also welcomes to discuss the report and counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan, Ambassador Ronald Neumann (ret.), President of the American Academy of Diplomacy and former U.S. Ambassador to Algeria, Bahrain, and Afghanistan; Harold D. “Doug” Wankel, former Chief of Operations and Chief of Intelligence for the Drug Enforcement Administration andformer Director of the Kabul Counter Narcotics Office, U.S. Embassy Kabul; Kate Bateman, Project Lead for the SIGAR counternarcotics report; and Matthieu Aikins, a Southern New Hampshire University Fellow at New America and freelance journalist working on a book about Afghan refugees.

Join the conversation online using #SIGAR and following @NewAmericaISP.

Keynote Address: 

John F. Sopko
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction 


Ambassador Ronald Neumann (Ret.) 
President, American Academy of Diplomacy
Former U.S. Ambassador to Algeria, Bahrain, and Afghanistan 

Harold D. “Doug” Wankel 
Former Chief of Operations, Drug Enforcement Administration
Former Chief of Intelligence, Drug Enforcement Administration
Former Director, Kabul Counter Narcotics Office of U.S. Embassy Kabul (2004-2007)

Kate Bateman 
Project Lead, Lessons Learned Program, SIGAR

Matthieu Aikins, 
Southern New Hampshire University Fellow, New America  


Peter Bergen@peterbergencnn 
Vice President, New America