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US Memo Faults Karzai on Afghan Anti-Drug Effort

22 May 2005

A U.S. newspaper report says some U.S. officials are critical of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's efforts to curtail Afghanistan's huge heroin trade.

The New York Times, in a story published Sunday, says U.S. diplomats in Kabul expressed alarm at the slow pace of poppy eradication in a recent memo to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The memo accuses local officials and village elders of hampering a U.S.-funded program to destroy poppy crops used to make the illegal drug. And it faults top Afghan officials, including Mr. Karzai for doing little to overcome that resistance.

The Times says the criticism of Mr. Karzai reflects mounting frustration among some American officials that plans to uproot large swaths of Afghanistan's poppy crop have produced little success.

The newspaper says some State Department officials defended the Afghan president, saying bad weather and logistical problems also contributed to the ineffectiveness of the eradication program.

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