UN Chief: Drugs Pose Severe Threat to Afghanistan’s Stability

Posted February 16th, 2012 at 5:55 pm (UTC-5)
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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Afghanistan to make fighting drug trafficking a priority and said the international community must help in the effort.

In his opening address Thursday to a one-day meeting of top global representatives in Vienna, Mr. Ban said narcotic production and drug trafficking undermine efforts to help Afghanistan emerge as a normally functioning economy.

“Poppy cultivation has increased by seven percent and opium production by 61 percent in the past year. Export earning from Afghan opiates may be worth as much as $2.4 billion. We cannot expect stability when 15 percent of Afghanistan's Gross Domestic Product comes from the drug trade.”

Afghanistan's Minister of Counternarcotics, Zarar Ahmed Moqbel Osmani, said Kabul understands international concerns, but noted that the vast majority of poppy cultivation takes place in insecure provinces.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who co-chaired the event along with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, said that “given the threat, nothing can be more dangerous than inactivity.”