House Republican calls on Biden to have plan to counter drug trade in Afghanistan

House Republican calls on Biden to have plan to counter drug trade in Afghanistan
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Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Jim Jordan reveals he had COVID-19 this summer The Memo: Gosar censured, but toxic culture grows MORE (R-Ohio) urged the Biden administration on Wednesday to provide a plan on how it will counter the illicit narcotics trade in Afghanistan.

Jordan, in a letter first obtained by The Hill, asked the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) if the administration has a strategy in place to address Afghanistan's opium and heroin trade in light of the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

“The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan due to President BidenJoe BidenBiden to provide update Monday on US response to omicron variant Restless progressives eye 2024 Emhoff lights first candle in National Menorah-lighting ceremony MORE’s reckless and chaotic withdrawal has created a power vacuum that has emboldened terrorist groups and threatened our vital national security interests. It has also led to the Taliban seizing control of the illicit drug trade in Afghanistan that will help to finance its terror activities,” Jordan said.

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The Republican congressman cited a July report from the ONDCP that said more than 80 percent of the global heroin supply originates in Afghanistan and that poppy cultivation increased in 2020, following a two-year decline. 

The Taliban said in August it would ban the production of opium poppies after years of profiting from it.

“To date, President Biden has not yet established a comprehensive counternarcotics strategy to tackle our country’s drug crisis. This failure is particularly concerning in light of the Biden border crisis and the surge of illegal alien encounters at the southwest border,” Jordan said.

He also asked if ONDCP meets with the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the Defense Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration about drug eradication efforts, seizing illicit narcotics in transit, or deterring access to drug trafficking routes.

He questioned if ONDCP also works with those entities to enhance the capacity to stop the flow of illicit narcotics leaving Afghanistan and if programs the U.S. had with Afghanistan to counter the drug trade have been terminated with the Taliban’s takeover.

Jordan requested answers from Regina LaBelle, acting director of ONDCP, by Oct. 13. 

The July report from the ONDCP found that 90 percent of heroin seized and tested in the U.S. originates from Mexico, despite the majority of the global supply originating in Afghanistan. The White House released the ONDCP report in July, prior to the fall of Afghanistan, and touted that President Biden’s budget request calls for $10.7 billion in investments for populations at greatest risk or overdose and substance abuse.