US officials briefed on counternarcotics efforts
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): A delegation of the US State Department on Tuesday paid a visit to southern Kandahar province and discussed with local officials issues concerning illicit drugs and the rule of law.
Led by former undersecretary of state for political affairs, Ambassador Nicholas Burns, the delegation included US Embassy Coordinating Director for Rule of Law and Law Enforcement Ambassador Hans G. Klemm, USAID chief in the south, provincial council chief and the PRT head.
The delegation visited at the central jail before going to the governor's house, where it held a meeting with the governor, departmental heads, judicial and counternarcotics officials.
Governor Toryalai Wesa briefed the team on issues concerning Kandahar's security, economy, governance and development. He also referred to counternarcotics efforts.
Wesa acknowledged that despite hectic efforts, poppy cultivation and the illicit drug commerce continued. He linked weaknesses in curbing poppy cultivation and the drug trade to the involvement of international drug mafia.
Mafia members have been able to help growers find access to the drug market, admitted the governor, who saw strengthening the agriculture sector as the only of convincing farmers to switch to other crops.
Public Health Director Dr. Abdul Qayum Pukhla told the meeting the fragile rule of law was a major problem faced by residents. He said the provincial government should be assisted in this regard.
Judicial officials asked the visiting delegation to make efforts at strengthening the justice department and building the capacity of its staff.
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