Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Co-chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, today sent a letter to President Biden urging him to create a comprehensive counternarcotics strategy following the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
“Terrorist activity and the drug trade in Afghanistan are inextricably intertwined. The Taliban controls the movement of illicit drugs in Afghanistan and uses the proceeds to finance its war against the Afghan government, the United States, and our partner nations… With fewer U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s strength has grown and it now controls about half of Afghanistan’s 419 districts, more than double what it controlled in May of 2021.1” Grassley wrote.
“It is important to consider the impact that American troop removal will have on the cultivation and insurgence of the global heroin market. This is particularly pressing in light of the staggering number of overdose deaths in the United States. The CDC recently released numbers that over 93,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses in 2020.2 Opioids, like heroin and fentanyl, accounted for 69,710 of these deaths.3” Grassley continued.
Grassley has long been a leader in efforts to curb the importation and spread of illegal, deadly drugs into the United States. Most recently, he introduced legislation to extend a Drug Enforcement Administration authority aimed at preventing the spread of fentanyl analogues, and called on the Senate and Biden administration to develop a long-term solution on fentanyl knockoffs. He’s also requested updates on the Administration’s plan to combat deadly analogues and pushed for them to be a central focus in the Administration’s crime and drug strategy.