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War on drugs must be Afghan top priority

2012-02-16 15:44

Vienna - UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Thursday urged Afghanistan to make fighting drug trafficking a priority as opium harvests soar in the world's top producer. Ban also urged the world to help in the effort.

"Above all, the Afghan government must prioritise the issue of narcotics," he said in his opening address in Vienna of the "Paris Pact" initiative to fight drug trafficking in Afghanistan.

"Law enforcement agencies [in Afghanistan] must work harder on eradicating crops, eliminating laboratories, keeping precursors from entering the country, and inhibiting drug trafficking," he urged.

Afghanistan grows about 90% of the world's opium and production of the drug soared last year by 61%, according to the UN drugs and crime office (UNODC). Drug production now makes up about 15% of Afghanistan's gross domestic product.

Ban also warned that "reducing supply is only half the story. There can be no real success without reducing the demand".

And he urged the international community to help: "We must stand with Afghanistan in this fight."

Paris Pact

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, the co-chair of the event, said that "nothing would be worse than inaction".

"We need institutions that are efficient, transparent and democratic," he added, pledging France's co-operation.

The Paris Pact was set up in 2003 to co-ordinate efforts to fight opium and heroin trafficking from Afghanistan, with 56 states and a dozen international organisations signed up.

On Thursday, the participants were expected to adopt a declaration vowing to fight opium trade in Afghanistan as well as related problems like corruption and money-laundering.

Juppe and fellow co-chair Russian Foreigh Minister Sergei Lavrov were also set to meet on the sidelines of the event to discuss a French proposal to set up aid corridors into Syria amid a bloody crackdown on anti-regime protestors.

Russia stands as one of Syrian President Bashar Assad's last major friends, vetoing with China this month a Security Council resolution condemning the regime for the violence, despite a barrage of criticism.

Comments
  • Fidel - 2012-02-16 15:54

    Is Mr Moon going to continue biting his lip, or is he going to grow some balls and say something about who has been responsible for this? When China’s emperor protested the drugging of his people, the British sent warships to force its ports open. Learn some history Mr SG!

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-02-16 16:42

      We can then blame China for all gun and explosive related deaths as they exported that to the rest of the world. Opium was the major source of morphine (pain relief) in perticular during that period and widely used for medicinal purposes,the recreational use as we know it today was a general negative spin-off of its effects (No drug adminisrtations back then). When the Emperor attempted to sieze stockpiles the British sent its armada from India. Prohabition is the reason for the trade and its attractiveness for farmers anyway ,why get paid $2 a pound of wheat when $20000 for a pound of poppies.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-02-16 16:47

      Fidel - another wonderful day of bickering , I've enjoyed it thoroughly.

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 16:51

      Glad to have assisted!

  • Craig - 2012-02-16 19:12

    No mention that Afghanistan's opium production soared under US/NATO occupation. Secondly, opium production is not some choice when there are no other means for one's family to subsist. How are they to acquire alternative crops when such are much more expensive and vulnerable to failure in Afghanistan's current drought? If the elite truly wanted that scourge to disappear in their "war" against opium rather than against the poor, they would provide the agricultural experts, the alternative crops and the humanitarian aid. Don't hold your breath.

  • Craig - 2012-02-16 19:12

    No mention that Afghanistan's opium production soared under US/NATO occupation. Secondly, opium production is not some choice when there are no other means for one's family to subsist. How are they to acquire alternative crops when such are much more expensive and vulnerable to failure in Afghanistan's current drought? If the elite truly wanted that scourge to disappear in their "war" against opium rather than against the poor, they would provide the agricultural experts, the alternative crops and the humanitarian aid. Don't hold your breath.

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