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Foreign Minister Attends International Counternarcotics Conference, Reaffirms Afghanistan’s Firm Commitment In Fight Against Narcotics

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Kabul (BNA) Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul attended an international counternarcotics conference in Lima, Peru on Monday.
The conference, titled International Conference of Ministers of Foreign Relations and Heads of Specialized National Agencies against the World Drug Problem, brought together foreign ministers and heads of national counternarcotics agencies from more than 60 countries and several international organizations.
Peruvian President opened the one-day conference.
In his speech to the conference, Dr. Rassoul reaffirmed Afghanistan’s firm determination to continue its national fight against narcotics and contribute to relevant international efforts.
“The drug problem constitutes a serious challenge to the aspirations of the Afghan people for a peaceful, stable and healthy future,” Dr. Rassoul said.
“The Government of Afghanistan is strongly committed and has taken specific steps on the national, regional and international levels to combat the world drug problem: by adopting laws and strengthening relevant law enforcement agencies, eradicating crops, eliminating laboratories, preventing precursors from coming to the country, fighting drug trafficking, creating an alternative opportunity for farmers and actively engaging in all regional and international mechanisms and efforts on counter-narcotics.”
Dr. Rassoul pointed to some of Afghanistan’s major achievements in counternarcotics.
“For the last 10 years, we have made significant progress in our fight against drug production and trafficking. For example, just last year we eradicated 1,925 poppy farms in 719 districts in 14 of our provinces,” he said.
“From 2007 to 2010, our statistics show a significant decrease in narcotics cultivation in Afghanistan. We have set up a special tribunal to for prosecuting individuals involved in the drug trade, which has already put dozens of traffickers behind bars.”
Dr. Rassoul also underlined the sacrifices of the Afghan people in the fight against narcotics over the past decade.
“My country Afghanistan is a prime victim of the drug problem, and we pay a heavy price every day in fighting the production and trafficking of illicit drugs,” he said. “Just last year alone, we lost 40 police officers and 92 other Afghan national security personnel were injured in counter-narcotics operations.”
“Hundreds of thousands of our citizens men, women and young children are direct victims of this international evil.”
Dr. Rassoul pointed to the complex nature of the narcotics problem and underlined the need for concerted multilateral counternarcotics efforts.
He also drew attention to the exacerbating factor of precursors in drug production in Afghanistan that all flow from outside the country’s borders. “This must be stopped.”
 

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