World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Afghanistan: Anti-Narcos Arrive To Curb Drug Trade


Afghanistan: UN Anti-Narcotics Chief's Visit To Address Boom In Drug Cultivation

The United Nations counter-narcotics chief is heading this weekend to Afghanistan, where concern is growing that the 2004 opium crop may reach record levels, topping last year's 3,600 tons produced.

"Unfortunately, there is no easy way of solving Afghanistan's opium problem. In countries like Thailand, Pakistan and Turkey, where the problem was as severe, it took a generation to reverse the trend, and put an end to it," Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said today as he prepared for his eight-day tour, which starts Saturday.

While in Afghanistan, Mr. Costa will review the situation on the ground and urge a more effective implementation of the National Drug Control Strategy. On his way to the capital Kabul, he will visit some opium producing provinces, meeting with key governors, police chiefs and military commanders, as well as some opium-growing farmers.

In 2003, opium production in Afghanistan reached an estimated 3,600 tons, a 6 per cent increase over the previous year, generating $1 billion in income for farmers and $1.3 billion for traffickers - the equivalent of 52 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Recent UNODC surveys indicate the likelihood of a further increase in production.

"The opium economy will continue to grow as long as drug production and trafficking are conducted without risk of retribution or the incentive to do something else. It is urgent to redress this risk-reward imbalance, making engagement in illicit activities legally and economically unattractive," Mr. Costa said, appealing to the international community to give more help to Afghan farmers to switch from opium cultivation to legal activities.

Before travelling to Afghanistan, Mr. Costa had visited Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, where the availability of opium has increased the lure of drug abuse. A rise in the number of people injecting heroin is causing a dramatic spike in the incidence of HIV/AIDS, according to UNODC. Narcotics money also provides resources to organized crime and terrorist groups.

Meeting with leaders of several Central Asian countries, Mr. Costa discussed the implementation of the Good Neighbourly Relations Declaration on Narcotics Control and of the Paris Pact initiative, which involves countries on the Afghan opium trafficking routes.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

ALSO:

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC