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The Fight against Narcotics Is On and Will Continue Unabated Until a Narcotics-Free Afghanistan
Released by the Office of the Spokesman to the President Islamic Republic of Afghanistan


Presidential Palace, Kabul - In the light of a new report released today by the International Narcotics Control Board, the following statement is issued by the Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan:

The Government of Afghanistan, within the help of the international community, is firmly pursuing the fight against narcotics on all fronts, including eradication of poppy fields, curtailing of drug production, interdiction and punishing of trafficking, and, above all, the provision of alternative livelihoods to farmers and affected communities. This campaign will continue unabated until Afghanistan becomes a narcotics-free country.

The Government of Afghanistan has adopted the 2005 Counter-Narcotics Implementation Plan to tackle the cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs in Afghanistan. There are eight Pillars in the Afghan Government's new implementation plan, which includes building institutions, alternative livelihood, interdiction and law enforcement, criminal justice, poppy eradication, demand reduction and treatment of addicts and regional cooperation.

The Government is working to close drug markets, seize narcotics, which are being smuggled all over Afghanistan, and to arrest those involved in drug smuggling and are reforming the judicial systems in order to be able to bring drug smugglers to justice.

In 2004, Afghanistan Special Narcotics Force (ASNF) has seized over 80 tonnes of narcotics, destroyed over 75 drug laboratories, and closed drug markets, including 2 major opium bazaars. The Counter Narcotics Police have expanded to over 750 officers, and will increase further. And a National Interdiction Unit will be established soon, there will be 9 more mobile detection teams (over 100 officers).

15 teams (over 120 people) are to be deployed in a targeted way across Afghanistan from mid-February to verify the eradication already taken place. The result will be internationally-endorsed verification of Afghan Government efforts.

Extensive operations by security forces, in cooperation with the people of Afghanistan, to eradicate poppy cultivation all over Afghanistan have already begun and have been very successful. As a result of eradication efforts, as well as widespread voluntary restraints by farmers, poppy cultivation during this planting season has decreased. There is, however, need for provision of alternative livelihoods in order to sustain the success in reducing cultivation.

The President met this afternoon with H.E. Gareth Thomas, British Minister for International Development and Head of D.F.I.D. and emphasized on the need for the provision of alternative livelihoods to the affected farmers.

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