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  • Afghan Heroin Floods Europe Despite U.S. Billions

    U.S. agencies have repeatedly failed since 2001 to stop Afghanistan growers from flooding Europe with heroin and that should worry Europeans as Middle Eastern migrants inundate the continent, a federal watchdog told a British think tank Tuesday.

    The U.S. has spent “over $8 billion on a counter-narcotics effort that has failed by every conceivable metric,” John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said in a speech before the Qatar-based Royal United Services Institute.

    “As Europe well knows, Afghan heroin floods the streets of European cities and Afghan refugees are estimated to make up one-third of those crossing the border, contributing to the ongoing humanitarian crisis,” Sopko said in prepared remarks. “So there should be no question about Afghanistan’s relevancy today.

    “The bottom-line is that for all we have committed, lost, and achieved, Afghanistan’s problems extend far beyond its borders and we ignore them at our peril.”

    Sopko, likely the most outspoken U.S. inspector general, claims to be unafraid to “speak truth to power.” He also isn’t afraid to quote Monty Python.

    “Since 2002, Congress has appropriated nearly $110 billion for that reconstruction effort in Afghanistan,” Sopko said. “To oversee that massive commitment, we do a great deal of probing and questioning and sometimes, like John Cleese the in Monty Python Pet Shop Sketch, I argue that ‘this reconstruction project is dead to an obstinate bureaucratic Michael Palin’ — many times repeating the same findings and conclusions to such officials.”

    Sopko and his investigators and auditors have identified over $1 billion in possible savings through nearly 400 audits and letters in the last three years. But, federal agencies within the IG’s purview, including the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, often haven’t acted on his recommendations.

    “I must remind you that just because the number of U.S. and U.K. troops in Afghanistan has gone down, does not mean our mission is ending there,” Sopko said. “Even now, 14 years on and with the U.S. military presence much diminished, nearly $12 billion more in reconstruction funds are waiting in the financial pipeline, appropriated but not yet spent.”

    Follow Kathryn on Twitter.

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    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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