DCM Minister Faqiri discusses current issues in Afghanistan with American University students

Embassy of Afghanistan

DCM Minister Faqiri addresses Georgetown University students.

November 20, 2013

WASHINGTON—Deputy Chief of Mission Minister Ahmed Zahir Faqiri spoke with a class of undergraduate students at Georgetown University about the effects of illicit drugs on development in the context of Afghanistan. He unpacked the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's point of view and approach to curbing the growth, trade, and trafficking of illegal drugs as well as their impact on the overall development of Afghanistan.

Additionally, DCM Minister Faqiri gave a brief overview of the current situation in Afghanistan and what the future holds at such a critical time in the country's development.

Excerpts from DCM Minister's Faqiri's speech are listed below.

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“Drugs are not only a threat to the economy and security of the country, but, have a direct link to terrorism, spreads into the afghan families like cancer and gradually destroys the lives of Afghan people. In those parts of the country where they cultivate poppy, most of the people have been addicted and are gradually losing their lives...”

The Government of Afghanistan is aware of the challenges in regards to the trafficking and consumption of drugs. We have undertaken a number of measures to stem the tide of this menace.

The Ministry of Counter Narcotics is actively engaged on many fronts relating to narcotics control. The government of Afghanistan is focused on diminishing of poppy cultivation, rehabilitation and treatment of addicts as well as fighting with trafficking and production of narcotics. We have taken strong initiatives to properly fight with and we have formulated:

  • A National Drag Country Strategy,
  • An action Plan for National Drag Country Strategy,
  • An Alternative Livelihood Action Plan,
  • A law enforcement Action plan
  • And A Publicly Aware ness Action plan
  • Regular meeting mechanisms with our neighbors

We have faith in that fighting the cultivation, production and trafficking of narcotics requires a sold and honest regional cooperation. One of the most important components of fighting the production of narcotics is to prevent precursors; obviously precursors are coming to Afghanistan from outside of the county. Secondly strong border management and security assurances are another essential factor. We steadfastly accept as true that strong circles of Mafia and smugglers in the region are promoting and advocating the poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.

Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Counter Narcotics and Minister of Rural Development are jointly releasing development packages to a number of districts in Afghanistan. The packages include establishment of poultry farms, fish nursery, greenhouses, cold storage rooms, beekeeping, infrastructure and dams.

Earlier this year, the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock distributed 65,000 kg of saffron to Afghan farmers.
In a bid to promote cultivation of the spice all over the country, the Ministry of Agriculture of Afghanistan planned to buy saffron plants from farmers with surplus saffron on their lands and distribute it to the farmers in provinces with less cultivation of the plant. In addition, the Ministry provided tools to cultivate saffron, fertilizer, insecticides and fungicides.

The price of one kilogram of processed saffron in Afghanistan is up to US$3,000 and regionally it can reach as high as $6,000. The international price of saffron reaches up to $8,000 dollars.

Saffron is currently produced in 23 provinces, with Herat bearing the highest level of saffron cultivation in the country.
Cotton cultivation is another corps that can replace poppy in southern Helmand province believes that with increasing cotton yields in the province, the issue of insecurity would be minimized.

Some of the effects of illicit narcotics trade are that; this trade gradually turns upside down business rules, opening way for new unruly market players besides reconfiguring influence in global economics as well as politics.

Surprisingly, the revenue from illegal drugs is roughly 10% of the global GDP. The research findings indicate that, illegal drugs trade particularly on the world economy besides growing at a high rate, it endangers the overall welfare of humans likewise the business environment.

This is ostensibly because this trade has high chances of engrossing regional economies into illegal drugs business activities, causing them to neglect sustainable ethical businesses. Now, to effectively address negative economic issues related to illegal drugs trade, there is apparent need for integrated efforts from local as well as international authorities. Such efforts are chiefly to control not only the harmful effects resulting from the use of illicit narcotics, but also from the trade itself and to build sustainable economies.