Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Permanent Representative to the UN
At the Third Committee
Allow me at the outset to congratulate you and members of the Bureau for your election. We are fully confident that under your able leadership the third committee will accomplish its task successfully.
Let me also extend my appreciation to Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for his comprehensive and detailed report. Under the energetic leadership of Mr. Costa, UNODC is committed to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.
UNODC is supporting the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan particularly the Ministry of Counter Narcotics in elaboration of strategic guidelines and mobilization of resources to address problems of production and trafficking of drugs.
Afghanistan is strongly committed to fighting narcotics alongside terrorism through a combination of law enforcement and economic measures. We share the concern of the International Community on this issue and expect that it will continue to support us in this fight by assisting us to implement an effective and comprehensive counter narcotics strategy.
Cognizant of the devastating effects of narcotics on our society, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan adopted its National Drug Control Strategy in January 2006 at the international London Conference on Afghanistan. The National Drug Control Strategy outlines the following eight pillars for combating and ultimately ending the illicit narcotic track in Afghanistan;
• Alternative livelihoods
• Building institutions
• Information campaign
• Drug law enforcement
• Criminal justice
• Drug Demand Reduction and treatment of addicts
• Regional cooperation
The Afghanistan’s opium survey released in august 2007 reported an increase in opium poppy cultivation by 17 percent and potential opium production of 34 percent. Continued terrorist activity, extreme poverty, economic reasons, and pressures from traffickers and local criminal groups have been considered as causes of expansion of poppy cultivation.
The inextricable nexus between insecurity and narcotics necessitates a holistic approach to effectively address the issue of narcotics in our society and region. In this regard, it is noteworthy to mention that the 14 provinces which have become free of poppy cultivation are provinces in which security and governance have significantly improved, while poppy cultivation has significantly increased in those provinces that have seen a deterioration of the security situation. Therefore, as part of the comprehensive campaign against the scourge of narcotics, we should also focus on breaking the nexus between narcotics and terrorism simultaneously, as mutually reinforcing factors.
In this context, we would like to emphasize on a crucial point that has also been asserted by the communiqué of the High Level Meeting on Afghanistan held on September 23rd at the United Nations; “it is imperative to underline the link between the production and trafficking of illegal drugs and the financing of terrorists activities, and agreed that breaking this linkage is vital to creating a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan”.
We are thankful to the international community for its commitment to collectively support increased Afghan government efforts to fight the poppy cultivation in province where it has expanded and to reward provinces and districts where poppy is not grown, to interdict, arrest and prosecute drug traffickers and corrupt officials, to pursue targeted eradication of poppy crops and to deliver effective rural development throughout Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a landlocked country, traffickers transport drug consignment from Afghanistan through our neighboring countries and other transit states to the European markets. It is therefore evident a successful and efficient fight against narcotics will require an equal effort by transit and consuming countries, on the basis of the principle of shared responsibility. Strong enforcement measures for the control of borders and mutual cooperation among judicial and law enforcement authorities of theses countries would contribute highly to the fight against narcotic drugs. In this regard, we welcome the trilateral agreement signed by Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan in June 2007 committing the countries to carry out more joint border operations and increase information sharing.
Thank you Mr. Chairman