KABUL, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) — A senior Afghan official called for joint efforts of the international community to fight against drugs on Monday.
“Combating drug problems and getting rid of the menace to the society which is essential for ensuring public health, human rights and sustainable development requires collective efforts,” Salamat Azimi, the Afghan Minister of Counter Narcotics told audience at a two-day regional conference concluded here on Monday.
“Afghanistan has been suffering from drugs and drug-related violence. Overcoming the war on drugs needs an inclusive, national, regional and global response,” she said.
The Afghan government has been firmly determined to control the cultivation and production of the illicit drugs, and it has taken new initiatives and measures to fight the menace, including provision and implementation of National Drug Action Plan (2015-2019), and providing alternative livelihood for farmers in rural areas, she noted.
The 7th Meeting of the Central Asian Counter-Narcotic Quintet Conference was kicked off on Sunday. Member countries include Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Russia. However no Pakistani representative attended the seventh meeting.
The conference participants issued a joint statement, expressing concerns about the current situation of opium cultivation in Afghanistan, and the likely usage and trafficking of new psychoactive substances in the region.
They also stressed urgent need to respond to the serious challenges posed by the increasing links between drugs and their precursors’trafficking, corruption and other forms of drug related organized crime including “money-laundering, cybercrime and,in some cases, terrorism.”
The participants also agreed to consistently oppose attempts aimed at undermining the existing international system of combating world drug problem, to look for new and innovative approaches to fight drugs, and to adopt measures to improve sharing of intelligence information on transnational organized drug crime, smuggling and sale of illegal drugs, and their precursors.
They also highlighted the need for international community, including the regional countries to cooperate with the Afghan government on alternative development and livelihood in the country based on the principle of shared responsibility.
The member states are expected to continue cooperation on training specialists of the national Counter-Narcotic agencies.
Vast majority of world’s opium poppy, the raw element for making heroin, has been cultivated in militancy-hit Afghanistan, particularly in western and southern parts of the country, where the government security forces have little presence.
In 2015, some 3,300 tons of opium was produced in Afghanistan and some 1.9 million to 2.4 million adult drug addicts have been living in the country.