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Date of Release: 23 November 2006

President Hamid Karzai Chairs Meeting on Counter-Narcotics

                                                               

Arg, Kabul – H.E. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, chaired a special meeting today of the governors of all of the provinces of Afghanistan, which focused on the problem of narcotics and the counter-narcotics efforts of the Government of Afghanistan. 

The President instructed the governors to take decisive action against poppy cultivation in their respective provinces, saying, “Lack of alternative livelihoods and compensation for destroyed poppy fields, as well as instability in some parts of the country must not be used as pretexts for not doing enough to eradicate poppy fields or enforcing the law.  Afghanistan must totally rid itself of the menace of narcotics no matter what challenges there are that make it difficult for us. 

The President emphasized the link between drug trafficking and security and noted that poppies contributed to the problem of insecurity in some southern areas of Afghanistan, mainly in the Helmand Province.  “Eliminating poppies will help security in the country, but more importantly it will restore Afghanistan’s honour and dignity.”

President Karzai also instructed the Governors to identify and dismiss the district chiefs who do not take action against poppies in areas under their control.

 “Prevention of poppy cultivation is more effective than having to eradicate the fields once cultivated”, said the President.  Instructing the governors to take action early on in the process, the President noted that the role of the governors was critical in this endeavour. 

The Governors gave the President full assurance of taking action against poppy cultivation.  Some expressed concern over the results of the surveys that are carried out about extent of cultivated lands in their respective provinces.  They proposed that the Ministry of Counter Narcotics and the international organizations concerned should make the results of their findings available to the governors in a timely manner so that action could be taken where necessary.  Keeping the results of surveys until publication the following year was unhelpful.  The President agreed with this proposal. 

 

The governors called on the members of Parliament to help relevant Government and international institutions by using their influence towards the prevention and eradication effort in their respective areas.  They also emphasized the need for greater public relations efforts to inform the people about the harms of narcotics and urged the Ministries of Education, Hajj and Religious Affairs, and Youth and Culture, and the free and state-run media to increase public awareness in this regard.

 

The meeting was also attended by Zarrar Ahmad Muqbel, Minister of Interior, General Dauod, Deputy Minister of Interior, General Khudaidad, Deputy Minister of Counter-narcotics. 

 

For further information, please contact:

Office of the Spokesman to the President

Tel.:  00 93 799 33 77 55

         00 93 799 90 94 29

Released by the Office of the Spokesman to the President

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

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