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UNODC discusses drug war with Rakhmon, tours Badakhshan
DUSHANBE – UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Yury Fedotov and Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon May 31 discussed the role that Central Asian states must play in fighting the trafficking of Afghan-grown drugs, according to a UN statement.
Fedotov, who was in Dushanbe for a conference of the Afghan, Kyrgyz and Tajik anti-drug agency chiefs, noted “excellent co-operation” between the UNODC and Tajikistan.
At the conference, Afghan Counter Narcotics Minister Zarar Ahmad Muqbel Osmani said Afghanistan and its neighbours could defeat drug trafficking only if they united against it, according to AsiaPlus.tj. Forty Afghan security personnel were killed during the most recent effort to destroy poppy fields, he said.
Before his meeting with Rakhmon, Fedotov visited a Badakhshan Province poppy field to witness drug eradication by the Afghan Counter Narcotics Police, the UNODC said. He also toured an Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) alternative-livelihoods project in Baharak District.
Fedotov worried about the increase in poppy farming in Badakhshan. In 2011, poppy farming in the province increased by 55% compared to 2010, the UNODC found. It projects more growth in poppy farming this year in the province.
“We must step up our awareness campaigns and provision of agricultural assistance in the form of seed, fertilisers and irrigation facilities to encourage opium poppy farmers to pursue alternative sources of livelihoods,” Fedotov said in the statement.