Drug policy causes a stir within NATO
The head of U.S. European Command has reportedly caused an uproar within NATO by allegedly telling a German general that NATO troops do not need proof before attacking narco-traffickers in Afghanistan, according to the International Herald Tribune.
The German magazine Der Spiegel reported on its Web site Wednesday that Gen. John Craddock had sent a Jan. 5 letter to a German general writing that it is "no longer necessary to produce intelligence or other evidence that each particular drug trafficker or narcotics facility in Afghanistan meets the criteria of being a military objective."
Both the German general and Gen. David McKiernan, commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, have objected to Craddock’s proposal, the International Herald Tribune reported on Saturday.
Craddock would not comment on the memo, his spokesman said Saturday.
A statement on NATO’s Web site said Craddock has issued guidance on how to go after drug lords, adding, "He has not, and never has, issued illegal orders."
Afghanistan’s exploding opium crop has provided money for the Taliban, which has staged a resurgence since 2006.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently told reporters that NATO needs to go after narco-traffickers if there is evidence that they support the Taliban.
"I have signed off on a change in the rules of engagement for our own forces that essentially say the same thing," Gates said at a Jan. 22 news conference. "If we have evidence that the drug labs and drug lords are supporting the Taliban, then they’re fair game."