October 9, 2014
At the outset, please allow me to join the previous distinguished speakers to express my sincere congratulations to you upon your election as Chair. Let me assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation throughout the work of this committee.
I would also like to express my appreciation to the Secretary-General and the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for their comprehensive reports and their ongoing technical support of my country’s efforts to combat the threat of narcotics.
Three decades of conflict, war and violence in Afghanistan severely damaged the basic physical and economic infrastructures of the country and curtailed peaceful development. Transnational organized crime, terrorism, narcotics and corruption have undermined development, stability, governance and rule of law, thereby posing a serious threat to our society.
Narcotics have also had a deep societal impact in many countries. Drug dependency, particularly among the most vulnerable populations in Afghanistan, remains a major challenge for us and has increasingly threatened the health and stability of our society and drained communities of economic and human resources. Tragically, over the past decade, Afghanistan has experienced an increase in drug addicts. Drug use is prevalent across both rural and urban areas and affects women, men and youth.
However, while Afghanistan faces marked challenges, we are confident that the government will put political, security and socioeconomic prosperity in the country, and by extension to the wider region, at the center of its efforts.
The Government of Afghanistan, supported by the International Community, has made tremendous efforts and considerable achievements in countering narcotics over the past few years, making tangible steps of progress despite the significant challenges we face. We have also adopted national legislation, undertaken a broader justice sector reform process to improve our institutions and relevant legal frameworks, and joined relevant regional and international instruments, protocols and conventions in line with our Constitution. Such progress must be accelerated.
In addition, Afghanistan has, as a state party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, acceded to the Protocol to Prevent, Support and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. Afghanistan also ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in August this year, as well as all 15 international counter terrorism instruments over the past few years. Our Government very recently ratified the Protocol amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Our most recent achievement, and a pertinent example of our efforts in the area of legislation, is the passage of the new Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Law. The law aims to prevent and prohibit the use of financial institutions or any economic activities for money laundering. The financial Intelligence unit of Afghanistan, along with other relevant stakeholders and institutions in the justice and security sectors, play a very important role in the law’s implementation.
We also value poppy eradication as an important element of counter narcotics efforts. A new poppy eradication campaign started in March 2014 in Afghanistan, which aimed to meet higher targets than previous years.
At the same time, drug control is ultimately a global issue; drug production in Afghanistan would not continue without the persistent problems of trafficking and consumption. The only way to truly address these issues is through genuine, comprehensive global and regional strategies to implement both drug-demand and drug-supply reduction measures.
Precursor control, which constitutes a key pillar of the Vienna Declaration, remains a top priority for my government. Precursors are key to processing opiates into heroin and morphine, with some 475 tons of acetic anhydrite used annually in Afghanistan, but these precursors originate outside the country and are trafficked into Afghanistan. We therefore once again emphasize the need for intensified joints efforts by all the Paris Pact partners in the fight against trafficking of precursors into Afghanistan. For our part, our Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) continue to conduct operations to seize narcotic drugs and precursor chemicals and engage the Tactical Operations Center (ToC), Mobile Detection Teams (MDT) and the Counter Narcotics Training Academy (CNTA).
We believe that strengthened cooperation at both the regional and international level, particularly at an operational level including through information sharing, is necessary to effectively address the diversion and trafficking of precursors. We need to further strengthen the capacity of the existing cooperation frameworks such as the Regional Intelligence Working Group on Precursors and to continue to strengthen the CNPA.
Detecting and blocking financial flows linked to illicit traffic in opiates is another key pillar of the Vienna declaration and is of deep significance to efforts to counter the menace of narcotics. We strongly believe that there is a shortage of information and coordination regarding the financial component of the illicit traffic of opiates. Yet the fact that a high percentage of opiate-related financial flows originates outside of Afghanistan requires intensified cooperation among all the Paris Pact partners in the area of financial investigations including through cooperation across the region and beyond.
Regional Cooperation remains key to addressing various dimensions of the narcotics problem. Different initiatives such as the UNODC’s Networking the Networks, the Border Liaison Offices (BLO), the Southern Trafficking Operational Plan (STOP), the Joint Triangle Cooperation at Northern Trafficking Route (Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan) (AKT), the Joint Planning Cells (JPC), including under the Maritime Cooperation Framework between Iran and Pakistan, need to be further strengthened. We also need to further the existing and potential cooperation opportunities in the area of counter narcotics that exist within the Istanbul Process.
We strongly believe that the new UNDAF 2015-2019, developed in coordination with the UN Country team in Kabul, includes narratives on the illicit drug economy under equitable economic development, justice and rule of law pillars. We appreciate the great support of UNODC through its mandates, programme and expertise, which are central to the achievement of our goals.
In addition to international and regional efforts, sustainable progress in addressing the problem of narcotics in Afghanistan will require strengthening the Afghan National Security Force’s capacity and providing alternative livelihoods for Afghan farmers.
Distinguished friends and colleagues,
I once again acknowledge the shared responsibilities both on the topics of narcotics and corruption as embedded in the UN Conventions, and before I conclude I would like to emphasize that the complex and multifaceted problem of drugs is unresolved and requires more effective cooperation, as highlighted in the UNODC 2013 Afghan Opium Survey and the 2012 Afghanistan Drug report. I would also like to reiterate the commitment of the people and the Government of Afghanistan to the fight against narcotics, and offer a special thanks to the UNODC Afghanistan Program for its technical support. We look forward to continued engagement and cooperation with our regional and international partners to address this ongoing threat.