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Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of progress towards achieving prosecutions in Afghanistan for those involved in the trafficking of narcotics. (82857)

Since August 2005, over 460 individuals have been arrested on suspicion of drugs related offences in Afghanistan. Prosecutors have handled over 350 cases and over 150 individuals have been convicted. This progress is being supported by improvements to the criminal justice system infrastructure, including the establishment of dedicated and secure narcotics courts and prison facilities. A counter narcotics Criminal Justice Task Force of 80 Afghan investigators, prosecutors and judges has been established to work with the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan specifically to conduct drugs prosecutions. New Afghan counter narcotics legislation was adopted in December 2005. The new law gives wide-ranging powers for prosecution of drugs offenders, covering both those transporting drugs and those facilitating or conspiring to do so, and sets out stringent minimum sentences for drug trafficking offences and tough sentences for public officials interfering in cases.