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Join the Department of War Studies for a discussion with Dr Philip Berry on his newest publication The War on Drugs and Anglo-American Relations.

Chair: Professor John Gearson, Professor of National Security Studies & Director, Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College London

Speaker: Dr Philip A. Berry, Lecturer in War Studies, Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College London


  • Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles KCMG, Former UK Ambassador to Afghanistan (2007–09), and UK Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (2009–10)
  • Dr David Mansfield, Independent Consultant and author of A State Built on Sand



Despite receiving over $9 billion in western counter-narcotics funding since 2002, Afghanistan continues to dominate the global opium market. In fact, opium cultivation is now twenty times greater than when the Taliban were last in power.

The War on Drugs and Anglo-American Relations reveals the inside story of British and American efforts to curb the opium industry in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2011. The Anglo-American allies at the centre of this battleground were divided by competing and opposing views of how to address the opium problem, which troubled the well-established ‘special relationship’.

Through interviews with senior policy practitioners on both sides of the Atlantic, Philip Berry details the complex counter-narcotics campaign; highlighting key points of cooperation and contention and detailing the often-contradictory objectives of the overall war effort in Afghanistan. In doing so, he not only outlines why the allies failed to curb opium production, but also identifies lessons learned for counter-narcotics policy implementation in challenging environments.



Dr Philip Berry is a Lecturer in War Studies in the Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College London. Prior to this, he worked as a Researcher in the House of Commons. Dr Berry holds a PhD in International Politics from the University of Dundee, where his research examined Anglo–American counter-narcotics policies in Afghanistan in the post-2001 era. His work on the subject has been published in The International History Review and Diplomacy & Statecraft.

David Mansfield is an independent consultant widely regarded as the pre-eminent expert on rural livelihoods and opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. He has been conducting research on rural livelihoods and poppy cultivation in Afghanistan for twenty-four consecutive growing seasons. This research has involved over 16,000 in-depth household interviews in rural Afghanistan. David has a PhD in development studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London is the author of A State Built on Sand: How opium undermined Afghanistan, and produced more than 75 research based products on the drugs economy and rural livelihoods in Afghanistan.


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At this event

Philip Berry

Visiting Research Fellow

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