asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is their response to the comments made by Antonio Maria Costa, head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, urging NATO forces to take robust action to destroy the opium industry in southern Afghanistan. [HL7448]
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan contributes to the Afghan counter-narcotics effort by helping to provide the secure environment in which the rule of law can be applied, reconstruction can take place and legal rural livelihoods can be developed. ISAF forces are also authorised to provide training and operational support to Afghan counter-narcotics forces. But ISAF has not been deployed to take direct action against the drugs trade or to eradicate the opium poppy in the fields. That is a job for the Afghan Government.