Colombia’s success in battling drug traffickers and the FARC insurgency provides many lessons for Afghanistan, Colombia’s foreign minister said Wednesday.
“Colombia has learned a lot, which is why it’s our responsibility to offer solidarity and share what our experience has been,” Jaime Bermudez told Spanish news agency EFE.
“At this time many of our cities are more secure than other cities on the continent,” he added.
Bermudez is currently in London where he will attend an international conference on Afghanistan.
Policy makers and politicians in the U.S. have compared the counter-insurgency efforts in Afghanistan to Colombia’s conflict before. The Pentagon has explicitly cited Plan Colombia as a model for the war in Afghanistan.
The U.S. commander of NATO has also drawn parallels between the two conflicts, both of which are funded by drugs and fought mostly in hostile, rural terrains.
Bermudez said that Colombia would send advisors and experts on demining, the cultivation of illegal drugs and the disarmament of illegal militias to Afghanistan. He cited the government´s success in demobilizing thousands of members of groups like the FARC as a model for Afghan efforts to demobilize Taliban insurgents.
“Our experience is clear,” he told the news agency. “We have demobilized more than 50,000 men who participated in guerrilla or paramilitary groups.”
There are currently about 120 Colombian soldiers serving under NATO in Afghanistan. Their focus is on landmine removal and combatting drug trafficking.