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Senior Afghan Delegation Visits Colombia
The Embassy of Afghanistan


Washington, D.C. - Habibullah Qaderi, Afghanistan’s Minister of Counter-Narcotics, headed a six-member delegation to visit Bogota, Colombia, during July 14-17, 2005. The main purpose of the visit was to learn from Colombia’s extensive counter-narcotics experience and to begin bilateral cooperation in fighting drug trafficking as a transnational security problem.

Minister Qaderi met with Jorge Alberto Uribe Echavarria, Colombia’s Minister of Defense, as well as other senior law enforcement officials of the Colombian government. The two Ministers agreed that drug-trafficking was not the problem of their countries alone but that of the entire world and, therefore, effective counter-narcotics required the full cooperation of the international community.

Minister Qaderi said: “We greatly welcome the opportunity to visit Colombia and learn from your counter-narcotics experience and expertise, as we are striving hard to eliminate poppy production in Afghanistan.” Minister Uribe assured Minister Qaderi of Colombia’s full assistance in sharing their experience and technical aid in building the capacity of Afghanistan’s counter-narcotics institutions. “Your visit is the beginning of relations between Colombia and Afghanistan and to show the world that we two peoples stand united to address the problem of narcotics,” commented Minister Uribe.

The current status of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is the result of more than two decades of war which has destroyed Afghanistan’s agricultural economy and decimated its traditional rural communities. The government of Afghanistan has developed a national counter-narcotics strategy with an objective of reducing opium poppy cultivation by 70% by 2008 and to completely eliminating poppy cultivation and drug trafficking by 2013. The Strategy is being effectively executed by the government’s 2005 Counter Narcotics Implementation Plan.

Minister Qaderi greatly appreciated the invitation and hospitality of the Colombian government, as well as the many useful presentations on various aspects of counter-narcotics that the Colombian officials gave in the meetings attended by the Afghan delegation. The visit concluded with a field trip to a military airbase outside Bogota where the delegation were briefed on the kinds of aircrafts used for counter-narcotics operations. The delegation also observed simulation of an interdiction operation conducted by the Colombian counter-narcotics police.

The US Embassy in Kabul and the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington DC facilitated the visit. Counter-narcotics officials of the US and Afghan Embassies, Richard Baca and Ashraf Haidari, accompanied the delegation to Colombia.

M. Ashraf Haidari
(202) 483-6410, (Ex-811)
[email protected]

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