Statement by Ahmad Zahir Faqiri Deputy Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to UN
High-level interactive briefing on the Challenges in the Fight against Transnational Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking
“The state prevents all types of terrorist activities, cultivation and smuggling
of narcotic drugs and production and consumption of intoxicants.”
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to the recently created UN System Task Force for Organization of today’s high-level interactive briefing on the Challenges in the Fight against Transnational Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking.
I also would like to commend His Excellency Ambassador Martin Sajdik of Austria and Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico for their commitment and tireless efforts in support of UNOD` s endeavors in the fight against drugs and crime.
My gratitude also equally goes to Mr. Yuri Fedetov, Executive Director of UNODC, Under Secretaries, and other distinguished speakers for their comprehensive remarks.
Among the many devastating effects of decades of war and insecurity, increased poppy cultivation carries the largest social, political and economic consequences. These threaten to endanger our efforts to rebuild a stable and democratic Afghanistan.
Today, Afghans suffer from the dual menace of terrorism and drugs. The deep- rooted nexus between terrorism and the trafficking of illicit narcotic drugs poses a serious threat to stabilization effort. Terrorist groups in our region are financed in part by the profits from illegal drug activity.
Drugs are not only a threat to the economy and security of my country, but, have a direct link to terrorism, spreads into the afghan families like cancer and gradually destroys the lives of Afghan people. In those parts of the country where they cultivate poppy, most of the people have been addicted and are gradually losing their lives.
In order to address the Narcotic dilemma the government of Afghanistan launched a comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy based on the four following priority:
Priority One: Disrupting the drugs trade by targeting traffickers and their
Backers and eliminating the basis for the trade
Priority Two: Strengthening and diversifying legal rural livelihoods
Priority Three: Reducing the demand for illicit and treatment of problem drug users
Priority Four: Strengthening state institutions both at the centre and in the
Unfortunately Afghanistan is the world’s leading supplier of illegal opiates, trafficked as opium, morphine and heroin. There are clear links between the drugs trade and the insurgency. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that the Taliban derive approximately $150m per year from Afghan narcotics. Both the drug traffickers and the Taliban have a common interest in resisting Afghan Government authority and international forces.
The UNODC 2011 Afghan Opium Survey published on 11 October states that opium poppy cultivation rose by 7% compared to 2010. However, it is important to set this rise against the backdrop of opium prices which have more than doubled in the last year, and an overall fall in cultivation of 36% between 2007 and 2010. This year there was also a 3% decrease in cultivation in Helmand, the most prolific opium producing province. This third successive annual reduction is evidence to the efforts of the Provincial authority and their comprehensive approach to countering the drugs trade in compliance with the fourth priority of the National Drug Control Strategy.
We all recognises that eradicating opium poppy without developing viable legal livelihoods is not sustainable and would make farmers increasingly vulnerable. A sustainable reduction in opium poppy cultivation requires improvements in the living standards of the rural population, including diversifying income sources, and security, which takes time to achieve completely.
Afghanistan actively seeks to improve its bilateral relations within the region, which have an important role to play supporting Afghanistan’s development into a stable and secure state. The Afghan government is working to develop strategies for improved regional co-operation, with support from its international partners and institutions. On 5-6 September 2011, the Ministry for Counter Narcotics hosted the second regional Counter Narcotics Conference in Kabul. This involved the counter narcotics agencies of Tajikistan, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Efforts are being made to improve information-sharing and develop closer working relationships with the neighbors concerning border control and law enforcement agencies; judicial cooperation is another aspect that needs to be strengthened in bilateral relations. Improved cooperation will also result in the disruption of the flow of narcotics (and precursor materials) across Afghanistan’s borders. Afghanistan today is an active participant in UNODC-sponsored meetings and forums such as the Inter-Governmental Technical Committee (IGTC) meeting and the Senior Law Enforcement Officers (SLEO) meetings.
It should be highlighted that there are four strong elements been identified on the increasing of Narcotics in Afghanistan:
- Poverty and deficiency of livelihoods to replace opium,
- Insecurity and threat pose on poor Farmers by insurgents and smugglers ,
- Precursors which is coming to Afghanistan form outside of the country
- Demand of international markets and opiates prices,
Tackling these four elements requires a decisive, honest and result oriented approach both from Afghanistan and our regional and international partners in combating narcotics. To this end we there is need to intensify our efforts.
Thank for your attention