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Afghanistan: Drugs

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to tackle opium poppy cultivation in the provinces of Afghanistan where it is taking place; and what assessment he has made of the impact of drug-trafficking on the stability of the region. (201665)

The UK is supporting the Afghan Government in implementing its National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS). This includes work at a national level, through the Ministry of Counter Narcotics, and provincially, through the Independent Directorate for local governance and through provincial governors. Our efforts are focused on those areas where opium poppy cultivation is concentrated, notably in Helmand province. In support of the NDCS, UK assistance aims to: raise public awareness; promote international and regional co-operation; promote alternative livelihoods; reduce demand for drugs; support law enforcement; establish an effective criminal justice system; support targeted eradication of opium cultivation; and build effective Afghan Government institutions.

We remain concerned about the potential for Afghan drug-trafficking to undermine regional stability and are encouraging Afghanistan and its neighbours to take forward further regional counter narcotics coordination and cooperation. The UK will be participating as an observer in the Good Neighbourly Relations Declaration meeting scheduled to take place later this year, which is integral to this process.