EU says concerned about increasing poppy
KABUL (PAN): The European Union (EU) on Wednesday said it was concerned about a UN report that indicated opium production in Afghanistan has been increasing for a third year in a row and headed for a record high.
The UNODC Afghanistan Opium Risk Assessment 2013 released on Monday found poppy cultivation between December 2012 and January 2013 is expected to increase in the main poppy-growing provinces of Afghanistan. "This news is all the more disturbing, since this implies that opium cultivation across Afghanistan has increased for the third year in a row," a EU statement said.
It said the EU had actively supported counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan, not least because 90 percent of heroin in Europe originated in Afghanistan.
The EU believed Afghanistan's National Drug Control Strategy represented an interesting approach for tackling the issue at this time, under the ownership and primary responsibility of the Afghan government.
"Anti-corruption policies should form an essential component of counter narcotics efforts. The EU is aware that the Afghan government, in striving to achieve its objectives, will need the sustained support of the international community also in the years to come."
The statement said the EU supported the counternarcotics monitoring mechanism implemented within the framework of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, in its efforts to implement a sequenced approach to security prior to alternative livelihoods in volatile poppy-producing provinces.
"The EU and other members of the international community agree that a cross-cutting, interdisciplinary approach has the best chances of success.
In terms of practical cooperation, the EU aimed to address counter-narcotics issue through a comprehensive approach by supporting capacity building for civilian police and the judiciary, assisting border management, in the health field and by cooperating on alternative livelihoods.
At regional level, the EU supports a regional programme on "Trafficking from/to Afghanistan with the ECO Member States" as part of the Heroin route initiative; beyond that, the EU cooperates on counter-narcotics as part of the Afghan-led regional 'Heart of Asia' Process.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.