Wednesday, February 02, 2005

31 NGOs in Afghanistan Support Nacotics Trade

Iran Daily "Anti-Drug War in Afghanistan Questioned


This picture taken 9 April 2004, shows an Afghan poppy farmer using a blade to score the surface of an opium poppy in order to extract raw opium in Laghman, Afghanistan. (AFP File Photo)

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 2--Afghan authorities and the international community have declared war on drugs in Afghanistan, the world's largest opium producer, but the debate about exactly how to wipe out the problem is just starting, AFP reported.
This week 31 non-governmental organizations wrote to new US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice urging America to reconsider its emphasis on eradicating poppy crops, saying it could destabilize the country.
The open letter shows the widespread concern among aid officials and diplomats, who say eradication is not enough while there is no real policy for giving farmers an alternative livelihood once their crops are destroyed.
They say the West must also tackle the problem at the other end, starting with the addicts who consume Afghan drugs and moving up to the traffickers and even the companies who export chemicals used to make heroin.
"There is no silver bullet," one of the aid officials who signed the letter to Rice told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"Development is going to take many years. So rather than throwing a lot of resources, the US should take a look at the bigger picture."
The letter, released Monday by groups including CARE, the International Crisis Group and Oxfam International said the current anti-drugs policy placed "premature and excessive emphasis" on eradication.
"It has the potential to turn millions of Afghans against a government which is struggling to extend its reach and strengthen its authority," the document added."

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