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UN-backed anti-drug efforts in Afghanistan gain momentum

UN-backed anti-drug efforts in Afghanistan gain momentum

A senior United Nations drug control official today reported new progress in the war against drugs flowing out of Afghanistan, as the country's interim leader issued a decree banning the production of poppy.

The order issued by Hamid Karzai, Chairman of the Interim Administration, outlaws the production, processing, illicit use, smuggling and trafficking of all drugs such as opium and their ingredients. It also pledges that the Interim Administration, with the help of international organizations, will promote crop substitution programmes throughout the country.

Meanwhile, Bernard Frahi, who represents the UN International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) in Afghanistan and Pakistan, told reporters in Kabul that Pakistan had recently seized more than 900 kilogrammes of heroin and morphine trafficked out of Afghanistan.

Calling this "the world's largest heroin seizure ever," he said the incident revealed the "determination of traffickers to resume their dirty business" and their decision "to remove their stocks currently in Afghanistan to more secure places in other countries."

"The war against drugs is far from being lost in Afghanistan," said Mr. Frahi. "On the contrary, this first seizure represents the first gains in the battle against heroin."

The official said UNDCP was coordinating the efforts of drug enforcement agencies in the United States, Pakistan, Iran and the Central Asian States. "Our ambition is to ensure that soon large seizures of drugs will take place in Afghanistan and not only in neighbouring countries," he said.