US to give Afghanistan $600m aid to combat drugs
HERAT CITY (PAN): The US assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs on Tuesday said the Congress had allocated $600 million (29.9 billion afs) in assistance to Afghanistan for combating drugs during 2013.
International cartels were trying tom find a market for drugs and enhance their use, William R. Brownfield told a news conference in western Herat province. The main drug-trafficking routes to Central Asia, Iran, Russia and Europe passed through Herat, he said.
Calling the scourge an international phenomenon, the visiting American official said that Afghanistan, specially Herat, had become a drug smuggling route to the outside world because of its strategic location.
The assistant secretary stressed proper law enforcement and fight against drugs, saying that no nation could succeed single-handedly in the counternarcotics drive. Brownfield called for concerted international efforts in this regard.
He explained: "Of the $600 million assistance for the year 2013, id="mce_marker"00-150 million will go to (provincial) governors for funding the counternarcotics campaign.”
Three weeks back, the counternarcotics minister listed high international demand and easy imports of chemicals as the main reasons behind drug smuggling and production in Afghanistan.
Addressing a news conference in Herat, Zarar Ahmad Muqbil asked the international community to accept "its responsibility" in the war against drug smuggling.
"If Afghanistan is the producer of drugs, the users are outside the country. Two years back, high demand of outsiders caused a 200 percent increase in prices of drugs,” he added.
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