Nov 152010
 
Authors: Sarah Banes

Afghanistan produces 90 percent of the world’s opium and heroin.

And as the director of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau, Steven H. Kraft works to decrease this number every day.

Kraft spoke about his work and answered questions about career options in the U.S. Department of State to a small group of students in The Institute for Learning and Teaching building’s auditorium Monday afternoon.

The Bureau of International Narcotic and Law Enforcement Affairs works to build roads, actively pursue counternarcotics, train the police force and establish the justice sector in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Kraft has significant experience with foreign affairs, working for five years in the Department of Defense and serving in Herat, Afghanistan eight years ago with U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Special Forces units.

He will be giving a tour of the prison system to officials from the Afghan police force in Colorado Springs today to show them how it works in the U.S.

Kraft has been the director since August 2009 and discussed with audience members the role of the U.S. Department of State in Afghanistan and Pakistan, touching on available careers and internships within the department.

The Department of State is always trying to recruit people who are interested in representing and serving U.S. foreign policy.
Meredith McKee, a CSU alumna who graduated in May, has interned with the Department of State twice, first in Washington D.C. and then for the Public Affairs Office at the U.S. embassy in Nigeria this summer.

She said she is working toward a career in the Foreign Service Office promoting human rights and public diplomacy. McKee will be stationed at embassies all over the world, spending three years in each country.

“The goal is to properly equip the Afghan police by instituting mentoring and training programs so they can eventually operate independently,” Kraft said. He added that they hope to give Afghan forces complete control of security and combat by 2014 so the U.S. will withdraw its troops and take on more of a supporting role.

“It’s great for us to see there are places in the U.S. Department of State that focus on law enforcement and judicial systems specifically. I didn’t know these programs even existed,” said Barbara Farrell, a senior psychology and sociology double major.

Farrell works for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Artistry at CSU, facilitating research programs for undergraduate students.

“These countries start from scratch and are able to learn from our mistakes,” she said.

“We are one bureau that has a large amount of money to implement these types of programs around the world,” said Kraft, who plans to work as director through 2012. “I am personally very optimistic. We owe it to our troops to succeed.”

Staff writer Sarah Banes can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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