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Opium Poppy Trade Must Be Stopped

Opium Poppy Trade Must Be Stopped To Defeat Terrorists, Afghan Leader Tells Un Debate

New York, Sep 20 2006 2:00PM

The upsurge in terrorism across Afghanistan over the past year will not end until the booming opium poppy industry is defeated and farmers can find alternative livelihoods, the country’s President told the United Nations General Assembly today.

Speaking at the Assembly’s annual debate at UN Headquarters in New York, Hamid Karzai called on the international community to maintain its support for his Government’s counter-narcotics efforts.

“The menace of narcotics feeds terrorism and threatens the foundation of legitimate economic development in Afghanistan,” he said.

Mr. Karzai said the illegal drug trade is being fuelled by several factors, including the absence of meaningful alternate livelihoods for farmers, the lack of security in some parts of the country, and clandestine credit flows to poppy farmers.

He pointed out that terrorism has rebounded over the past 12 months, with many doctors and teachers killed and numerous schools and clinics burned down or otherwise destroyed. Some 200,000 students who attended school two years ago can no longer do so because of the terrorist activity.

Vowing to step up his efforts to defeat the terrorists operating inside Afghanistan, Mr. Karzai warned that this cannot be accomplished solely by military means.

“We must look beyond Afghanistan to the sources of terrorism. We must destroy terrorist sanctuaries beyond Afghanistan, dismantle the elaborate networks in the region that recruit, indoctrinate, train, finance, arm and deploy terrorists.”

The Afghan President welcomed the General Assembly’s adoption of a global counter-terrorism strategy earlier this month and called for a comprehensive world treaty on terrorism to be signed as soon as possible.

Ends

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