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Volume 455: debated on Monday 15 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the spraying of herbicides on opium crops in Afghanistan. (114301)

Opium poppy eradication policy and implementation is the responsibility of the Afghan government. We believe eradication should be targeted where there is access to legal rural livelihoods, as set out in the Afghan government’s National Drug Control Strategy. The Afghan government has yet to make a final decision on whether ground based spraying of poppy will be conducted in 2007. The UK supports the well-explained piloting of ground based spraying in areas of Afghanistan where the security situation permits, and if the Afghan government agrees, in order to assess its relative effectiveness compared to current eradication approaches. We judge that the risks of ground based spraying in Afghanistan to health and the environment are within acceptable levels. We continue to oppose aerial spraying, as does President Karzai.