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Afghanistan

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department"s assessment of the total poppy crop in Afghanistan is for (a) 1991, (b) 2000, (c) 2001 and (d) 2002; and if he will make a statement. [114356]

Since 1994, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has conducted an annual survey into the level of opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. This concluded that the extent of cultivation in the last three years was:

Hectares
200082,000
20018,000
200274,000
The largest cultivation level, of 91,000 hectares, was recorded by the UNODC in 1999. There are no generally accepted figures for cultivation in 1991.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department"s strategy is on opium sourced in Afghanistan that gets transported to the UK. [114357]

The UK is working with the Afghan Government to achieve their stated goal of eliminating opium production by 2013. We are co-ordinating international anti-narcotics assistance to Afghanistan. With the endorsement of the Afghan Government, and in consultation with other international stakeholders (especially the UN), the UK has developed a long-term strategy. This identifies four key areas where assistance should be targeted: improving Afghan law enforcement capability; rural reconstruction to generate alternative livelihoods for opium poppy farmers; capacity-building for Afghan drug control institutions; and establishing prevention/treatment programmes to tackle addiction.We are also working with governments along the main trafficking routes to disrupt the drug trade.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much money the Government spent on their programme to eradicate poppy production in Afghanistan in 2002; and how much the Government intend to spend on this programme in 2003. [115361]

At the Tokyo Reconstruction Conference for Afghanistan in January 2002 the UK pledged £200 million over five years for development. The conference acknowledged that measures designed to contribute to the elimination of opium poppy cultivation should be included in all reconstruction programmes.In 2002–03 the UK spent £70 million on development in Afghanistan. This included £2 million on livelihoods programmes which promote the creation of alternative forms of licit livelihood for Afghan poppy farmers. The UK has also provided approximately £24 million of assistance for the development of Afghan drug control capacity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the success of the Government in meeting its PSA target to contribute to the reduction of opium cultivation in Afghanistan by 70 per cent. in five years with complete elimination in 10 years. [115362]

The elimination of cultivation of opium poppy in Afghanistan in 10 years is an ambitious target which has been embraced by the Afghan Government and included in their own national drug strategy, endorsed by President Karzai on 19 May.A UK plan for assisting the Afghan authorities with implementation of their strategy is being finalised. It outlines a broad approach that balances the building up of Afghan drug law enforcement with the promotion of alternative livelihoods for poppy farmers. Achievement of sustainable reductions in cultivation levels will also depend on whether a secure environment can be maintained in Afghanistan which enables central Government to assert its authority over the provinces and which allows the development community to implement reconstruction programmes. We have always been clear that we expect poppy production to rise before it falls in later years. This is inevitable given the poverty, the need for alternative livelihoods and the need to build a strong central Government in Afghanistan which can implement an effective eradication strategy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in the development of a justice system in Afghanistan that meets international standards; and what his assessment is of the adequacy of resources available to develop such a system. [114876]

Progress in this sector is gathering speed after the appointment of a Judicial Commission in October 2002. The Judicial Commission has established a programme of work together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to which the UK has contributed £0.5 million, with a further £0.5 million pledged for later this year. Work on the programme is ongoing: a scoping study of existing infrastructure has already been completed across much of the country, and the Commission is actively reviewing the civil and penal codes.Italy is the lead nation for co-ordinating international assistance to the Afghan justice sector with the Transitional Administration. It has estimated that the development and running of the Justice Sector will require approximately £18 million per year (figure drawn from the Afghan National Development Budget 2003). Part of that sum can be met from the Afghan National Budget. Italy, the US and other donors are contributing significant sums to the Law and Order Trust Fund and to the Judicial Commission programme for reform of the Justice Sector enabling the reform programme to proceed.In addition the UK is funding work by the NGO Penal Reform International on penal reform in Afghanistan.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) men and (b) women in Afghanistan have received police training. [114877]

Germany is the lead nation for co-ordinating international assistance on police reform with the Afghan Transitional Administration. The Germans, assisted by other nations, have trained 1,300 men and 40 women at Kabul Police Academy. The UK ran a two week training course in Kabul in January attended by five male senior Afghan police officers, two of whom subsequently attended a course at the International Police College in the UK. These are the only figures that we can break down by gender. However, a further 25 Afghan police officers have been trained in Germany, as well as 340 officers in India, 60 in Turkey and 30 in Iran.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the likely production level of cultivation of opium poppies in Afghanistan in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004; and what percentage that represents of levels in (i) 2000 and (ii) 2001. [115498]

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducts an annual survey into the level of opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. They are in the process of completing the 2003 survey. The final results will be available in the autumn. The 2004 survey will get underway towards the end of this year.It is difficult to predict the size of future Afghan opium crops. However the UNODC did publish its Rapid Assessment report in February. It made no predictions about the likely size of the 2003 harvest but concluded there had been significant displacement of cultivation to new areas within Afghanistan.