The War on Drugs in Afghanistan: Another Failed Experiment with Interdiction

40 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2015 Last revised: 2 Feb 2016

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Abigail R. Hall

University of Tampa; George Mason University

Scott Burns

George Mason University, Students

Date Written: June 2, 2015

Abstract

Following the start of the war on terror in 2001, U.S. policymakers determined that winning the war on drugs in Afghanistan was necessary for winning the war on terror. Yet despite spending $8.4 billion on drug interdiction in Afghanistan since 2002, opium production has grown substantially. We examine the failures of the U.S.-led war on drugs in Afghanistan using the tools of economics. By driving the opium economy into the black market, the war on drugs has fostered regime uncertainty, resulted in the violent cartelization of the drug industry, empowered the Taliban insurgency, and contributed to corruption. The U.S. experience in Afghanistan has broader implications for international drug and terrorism policy.

Keywords: Afghanistan, War on Drugs, War on Terror

JEL Classification: F51, F52, H11, H56

Suggested Citation

Coyne, Christopher J. and Hall, Abigail R. and Burns, Scott, The War on Drugs in Afghanistan: Another Failed Experiment with Interdiction (June 2, 2015). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 15-37. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2613428 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2613428

Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Abigail R. Hall

University of Tampa ( email )

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Scott A Burns

George Mason University, Students ( email )

Mason Hall, 1st Floor, MSN 3G4
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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