354. Telegram 22013 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Afghanistan1 2


  • Narcotics Control Action Plan


  • (a) Kabul A-130
  • (b) State 4073
Goals and basic strategy of Narcotics Control Action Plan for Afghanistan have been generally concurred in by NEA Inter-Agency Committee on Narcotics Control subject to qualifications in following paragraphs and further development of specific components with RGA. Agree, however, that implementation of most parts of plan dependent on receipt of commitment from King per para B.1.a. of plan.
Statement of Goals: The overall U.S. objective in narcotics control activities in Afghanistan is to prevent opium from Afghanistan from entering the heroin traffic to the U.S. U.S. Cabinet Committee for International Narcotics (CINC), in its December 16, 1971 meeting, [Page 2] reaffirmed that intelligence and law enforcement should continue to receive highest priority in U.S. international narcotics effort. Embassy’s plan objectives are in general harmony with this decision in placing priority on intelligence collection and on upgrading capabilities of Afghan enforcement agencies. However, plan implies larger short-term input into agriculture than may be needed. NEA Committee agrees, however, that in longer term, it may be necessary to put effective check on expansion of production or to seek complete eradication of production to prevent international traffickers from making major use of Afghanistan as alternative source to Turkey.
Strategy to Achieve Goals—Political: We agree that general approach must involve full spectrum of bilateral, regional and multilateral activities. We believe Turks and Germans can play most useful roles. We are particularly interested in CND’s Ad Hoc Group [Page 3] getting started and are concerned that there still no indication Afghanistan will participate. Request Embassy recommendations on strategy for seeking FRG assistance to proposed RGA narcotics bureau. Department to plans urge U.N. to expedite consideration of proposal to initiate for Afghanistan and to initiate discussions with RGA as soon as possible on content of project.
Strategy—Law Enforcement: Recommendations seem well-suited to Afghan situation and are generally concurred in by NEA group with understanding that changes in scope and emphasis may be needed as specifics of proposals worked out with RGA. Request Embassy amplify suggestion on improved Afghan Customs Service and describe how TDY or resident customs advisory team might best coordinate its efforts with proposed narcotics bureau and gendarmerie strike force. We also believe that, whether or not Afghans decide to participate in CND Ad Hoc Group, it will be highly desirable [Page 4] to develop cooperative arrangement among Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran on intelligence collection, etc. Since almost exclusive demand for Afghan opium, and therefore main reason for growing it, seems to be from Iran, and since reaching long-term objective of ending opium production in Iran is believed unattainable until there is major reduction of opium flow from Afghanistan to Iran, interdependence of problem dictates need for coordinated solution. Embassies Tehran and Kabul are requested give careful thought to possible means of achieving coordination or cooperation, and to seek host government ideas at early stage in discussions of narcotics control action plans.
Strategy—Agricultural: Consensus of NEA Committee was that in light of Cabinet Committee’s decision, research strategy overly ambitious. Level of funding proposed seems out of proportion with priority established for agricultural projects at this stage of narcotics [Page 5] control planning. Existing Ag research program, which emphasizes wheat, will be evaluated by Ag review team in February. Team report may provide suggestions useful in narcotics control planning. In addition, USDA considering research targets which can be conducted in regional context, some but not all of which might be done in Afghanistan. On data collection, unfortunately, NASA ERTSA previously scheduled for 1972 will not be launched until 1973 at earliest, and ERTSB not until 1978. Most recent efforts at obtaining useful intelligence from aerial photography have not yielded positive results. State of art may be improved during course of 1972, but not expected be of use this crop year in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, mission should proceed to identify precise coordinates of several known poppy fields for use in establishing “ground truth” for early summer of next season’s possible use.
Following Embassy determination that King/RGA [Page 6] prepared to act, Embassy/Mission should discuss project proposals covering specific activities with RGA and submit for approval and funding. Additional proposals that may be suggested by CCINC priorities outlined para 2 above may be submitted as amendments to plan. Washington agencies may be able provide TDY assistance in project preparation if needed. Prior to funding approval, you should not, of course, make specific commitments to RGA on support of action proposals.


  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 11-5 AFG. Confidential. Drafted on February 7 by Robert A. Flaten (NEA/PAF), cleared by Laingen and with the NEA Inter-Agency Working Group on Narcotics, and approved by Davies.
  2. The Department transmitted its narcotics control plan for Afghanistan.