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Ahead of Afghan Withdrawal, U.S. Officials See Tough Fight Against Opium Traffickers

By Colby Adams

The United States should strengthen its efforts to fight money laundering and terrorist financing associated with Afghan opium ahead of a military withdrawal from the nation, U.S. officials said Wednesday. In a hearing, officials from four government agencies told members of the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control that plans to withdraw most American troops by the year's end will complicate, and possibly cripple, opium interdiction efforts in the war-ravaged nation. Despite current efforts, the Taliban's opium-related fundraising continues to "poison [Afghanistan's] banking sector," said John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Problems related to staffing have...

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