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UN anti-drug offices expands facilities to aid prosecution of Afghan traffickers

UN anti-drug offices expands facilities to aid prosecution of Afghan traffickers

In an effort to reinforce the ability of Afghanistan’s legal system to bring narcotics traffickers to justice, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today announced the completion of a new justice support centre in the city of Jalalabad.

The initiative, which builds on the opening previously of two other centres in Pakya and Mazar-i-Sharif, aims to provide a “one-stop-shop” for law enforcement officials and the judiciary, providing them with a safe environment to learn, work research and conduct criminal trials, according to UNODC.

“These new justice support centres will play a vital role in strengthening Afghanistan’s judicial system and will eventually help to bring to book some of Afghanistan’s biggest drug traffickers, aiming to end impunity and prevent the scourge of narcotics from undermining Afghanistan’s progress,” Aleem Siddique, a spokesperson for the UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMA), said today in Kabul.

This past March UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa told the Security Council that while opium cultivation in the centre-north of the country was decreasing, thanks to improved security conditions and development, in the south, a “vicious circle” of drugs funding terrorism and terrorism supporting drug lords was stronger than ever.

In another development, UNAMA also announced today that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed provisions to 4,000 people in support of a food-for-work programme in Kunar, Lahman and Nangarhar provinces, while nearly 35,000 students benefited from school feeding programmes in Nuristan, Kunar and Nangarhar, where over 800 tuberculosis patients are also recipients.

The mission said that WFP plans to provide over 520,000 tonnes of food to over 5.4 million needy Afghans through the end of 2008, through both emergency relief and regular distributions.