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H.E. Ambassador Erfani met with Young Afghan Diplomats at the OSCE

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Vienna, 16.09.2015

Today H.E. Ambassador Erfani, along with two diplomats from the Afghan Delegation, met with up-and-coming young diplomats from Afghanistan during a special meeting at the OSCE. The meeting was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Germany to welcome young diplomats of the various Central Asian countries, including Afghanistan. The group of young diplomats were part of an international training programme organized by the German Foreign Office concerning the formation of young diplomats from all over the world. During their stay in Vienna, the young diplomats visited the OSCE and various International Organisations to get an insight into the functioning and activities of their respective missions.

During the meeting, Ambassador Erfani briefed the young Afghan diplomats various aspects of the work completed here in Vienna at various international oganisations including the UN, OSCE, UNIDO, IAEA and CTBTO. Ambassador Erfani noted the importance of training and first-hand experience for young diplomats. He congratulated the young diplomats on their efforts to improve their skills and knowledge in order to best represent Afghanistan in international affairs.

Ambassador Erfani thanked the H.E. Permanent Representative of Germany to the OSCE, Ambassador Eberhard Pohl, and the coordinators of the Young Diplomats Programme meeting. Ambassador Erfani added that Germany throughout history has proved to be a great friend of Afghanistan and for the last 14 years, has been an active member of the international community in the stabilization process in Afghanistan. Ambassador Erfani concluded specially thanked Germany for coordinating this capacity building activity and noted that capacity building remains an essential area in particular for the young generation who are a promising factor in our future.

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Minister of Counter Narcotics, Minister Azimi, Meets with Women of the Afghan Community

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Vienna, 17.09.2015

On Saturday, September 12, H.E. Minister Azimi met with women of the Afghan community in Vienna at a reception hosted by H.E. Ambassador Erfani in his residence. At the outset, H.E. Ambassador Erfani welcomed H.E. Minister Aimi and the group of 60 women and emphasized the importance of the empowerment of women in Afghanistan as vital for a prosperous and democratic Afghanistan. Ambassador Erfani introduced Minister Azimi to the intelligent, educated and committed women of the Afghan community based in Vienna and briefed the women gathered on the programs and activities of Minister Azimi during her time in Vienna. Minister Azimi’s programme included visiting Vienna in order to attend and speak at the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe Conference on Illicit Drugs Among Young People as well as attending a briefing at the VIC where she made a presentation on the ongoing situation in the country. During both meetings, Minister Azimi reaffirmed the commitment of the government of Afghanistan in the fight against drugs.

During her reception with women from the Afghan community, Minister Azimi briefed the participants on the situation in the country for women and children, as well as addicted women and children. Minister Azimi expressed her commitment on behalf of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan to work Afghan people residing in Europe, including on issues relating to further developing rights for women, children in particular those women and children struggling with addiction. She took questions from the women on the rights for women, children, and addicts and entered into an open discussion of how Afghan women abroad can contribute to the well-being of women and children in Afghanistan, particularly those struggling with addiction.

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Statement by H.E. Ayoob M. Erfani Resident Representative and Head of Delegation at the IAEA 59th General Conference

Mr. President,

Director General,

Excellencies,

Let me start by congratulating your Excellency, Ambassador Filippo Formica on your election as President of this year’s General Conference. Also, I wish to thank Ambassador Aliyar Lebbe Abdul Azeez for presiding in such a great manner over last year’s General Conference and I wish him every success in his future endeavors. I thank H.E. Director General Yukiya Amano for his statement and for the Annual Report 2014 and congratulate him on his outstanding leadership. My delegation also commends the strong efforts of the IAEA Secretariat.

The delegation of Afghanistan welcomes Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Turkmenistan to the IAEA family. We are confident that the new members will have a mutually beneficial relationship with the organization.

Mr. President,

The annual General Conference provides a fresh opportunity for all of us to learn from the past developments, evaluate our opportunities and address the evolving and protracted challenges we are facing in international peace and nuclear safety and security, which remain vital for the security of our global village.

Afghanistan, a founding member of the IAEA, started to benefit from IAEA’s excellent co-operation as early as 1959, and we continue to do so in our ongoing joint efforts in developing nuclear applications and technology in the country. Therefore, today I will focus on further expansion of nuclear applications in Afghanistan through strengthening the technical cooperation between Afghanistan and the Agency.

As Afghanistan completed the transition and has entered its Decade of Transformation (2015-2024) towards a self-reliant economy, nuclear science and technology will have a crucial role in achieving the National Priority Programs of the Government of National Unity of Afghanistan, during the coming years of transformation. The Country Program Framework (CPF) 2012-2016 has already enabled cooperation between Afghanistan and the Agency in seven key areas, namely:

1) Legislative and regulatory framework; 2) human health; 3) agriculture and food; 4) water resources management; 5) energy planning; 6) nuclear analytical capability; and 7) human capacity building.

These policy issues remain vital in achieving our goals as set out in our national development agenda and NPPs throughout the Decade of Transformation. I can also report that the Parliament of Afghanistan has ratified Afghanistan’s Nuclear Act, drafted by the Afghanistan Atomic Energy High Commission (AAEHC) with the IAEA’s assistance on 10 September 2015. Afghanistan with the IAEA’s support is about to finalize draft regulations for radiation safety in the areas of 1) waste management and 2) the transport of radioactive materials.

Mr. President,

The Agency’s technical cooperation activities are of great importance for Afghanistan and our entire region, and Afghanistan therefore considers it essential that the resources of the Technical Cooperation Fund be sufficient, assured and predictable. Recent technical cooperation projects between Afghanistan and the IAEA revolved around three key projects: The establishment of a Radiation Oncology Centre; a Radiology Diagnostic Centre; and Radiotherapy and Radiology Services in Kabul.  Afghanistan appreciates the support that has been received from the IAEA technical cooperation projects and looks forward to the expansion of such cooperation in future projects.

On our part, we are committed to continuing our efforts to further develop the institutional and regulatory framework required for peaceful nuclear technology applications, through leading role of the AAEHC in the country. Training and capacity building remains a key component of the efforts being made by the AAEHC. The IAEA has provided considerable capacity building opportunities to the AAEHC in the form of fellowships and training courses. However, still a lack of funds indicates the need for further cooperation and support by the IAEA and the international community at large and we hope that donors are able to contribute sufficient funds for these important programmes.

I wish to reemphasize that Afghanistan attaches great importance to the IAEA’s technical cooperation projects under the CPF and remains confident that more effective use of various activities under the CPF will have greater impact. We wish to encourage increased transfer of know-how and additional capacity-building programmes from countries with advanced nuclear and radiological standards, which could also serve as an important step in shifting from mere assistance to strong cooperation.

We highly commend the efforts of the IAEA in assisting developing countries in gaining further access to nuclear science and technologies and we believe this must be a priority for the post-2015 development agenda, especially on the eve of the UN Sustainable Development Summit (25-27 September 2015) and due to the importance of access to energy in poverty reduction and improving health and livelihoods. As Director General Amano has rightfully stated in his statement on Monday, there are obvious links between the activities of the IAEA and the new goals, including human health, water management, food security, nutrition, protection of the environment, and energy. We cannot overemphasize the importance of technology and science for our development, welfare and progress.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan welcomes the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed between the IR of Iran and EU3+3 in Vienna on 14 July 2015. We congratulate the IR of Iran, the United States and the other negotiating partners on the historic outcome, which will enhance security and stability in our region and beyond, and we encourage all sides to take every effort for the implementation of this agreement. Safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, science and technology will contribute to global peace, security and development.

Afghanistan continues to fully support the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free-zone in the Middle East and respective consultations to achieve this goal. We emphasize the central role of the IAEA in this process. The Government of Afghanistan welcomes any confidence and security building measures in this region, as well as any similar positive steps towards elimination of WMD arsenals.

Afghanistan – a prime victim of international terrorism – strongly supports all efforts towards strengthened global nuclear security. We recognize that the global security framework is constantly changing. The IAEA must have the full support of all member states in order to be able to fulfill its mandate.

Mr. President,

I wish to conclude by reiterating the importance of continued cooperation between Afghanistan and the IAEA and its member states in the future and we are grateful for all the assistance we have received thus far.

Thank you, Mr. President

International Day of Democracy

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Vienna, 15.09.2015

Today’s International Day of Democracy reminds us about the importance of a democratic, pluralistic and free society and the inalienable rights of all of our citizens. Afghanistan’s young democracy has made significant progress and political participation, including among women, and is continuously growing.

We adopted a democratic constitution, held presidential, parliamentary and provincial council elections, established ministries, institutions, the rule of law, a free and independent media landscape, and we are proud of our dedicated civil society. The theme of this year’s International Day of Democracy is “Space for Civil Society” and we are committed to strengthening the ability of civil society organizations in the country as civic participation constitutes an important means for democratic, social and economic progress.

Afghanistan is a member of the Community of Democracies, a global intergovernmental coalition of more than one hundred democratic states. Last year’s inauguration of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani marked our country’s first democratic transfer of power. We have accomplished our democratic goals through hard work and many sacrifices by the Afghan people and our international partners.

We will continue our work toward good governance, promoting democratic values and norms. 

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H.E. Minister Azimi, Minister of Counter Narcotics, Addresses OSCE Conference on Illicit Drugs among Young People

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Vienna, 10.09.2015

Today as part of the two day conference hosted by the OSCE on the “Enhancement of Mechanisms to Cope with Increasing Spread of Illicit Drugs amongst Young People”, H.E. Minister Azimi delivered a speech giving an overview of the drug control situation in Afghanistan. She noted that poppy cultivation had increased by 7% compared with previous years. Tragically, Afghanistan also witnessed an alarming increase in the rate of addiction in its people with recent surveys showing approximately 2.9 to 3.6 million Afghans could test positive for one or more drugs and 1.0 to 1.2 million of these people are children. Minister Azimi noted several challenges for Afghanistan in dealing with the drug problem, including: ineffective alternative livelihood programs and insufficient resources in the area of addiction treatment.

Success in countering narcotics will be gained through addressing the growing link between drug trade and terrorism and focusing on the root causes of illicit drug cultivation including poverty, unemployment, and lack of alternative livelihood. Minister Azimi also noted that The drivers of drug business at regional and international levels need to be addressed with a special focus on its financial aspect in combination with intensified efforts to combat trafficking in precursors. Overall success in Afghanistan, the region and the world will only come about with increased cooperation and coordination in counter narcotic efforts through information sharing. Minister Azimi further noted that More resources are needed to address the root causes of drug use among young people as well as to strengthen preventive measures including awareness raising among young people. She sees a a great potential in civil society institutions in helping with preventive measures.

Minister Azimi concluded noting that, “The National Unity Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the elimination of opium economy. In few weeks, the new Counter Narcotics Strategy of Afghanistan and the new Drug Control Action Plan will be shared with the international community which will set the priorities and the implementation plans for the years to come.” Further to this, she noted that, “While we are grateful for the support that has been provided by the international community to our counter narcotics efforts in the past 14 years including by the OSCE participating states and partners for cooperation, I hope that we will witness even greater support to the implementation of our new counter narcotics strategy and the relevant action plan in the years to come.”

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The Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan, H.E. Minister Azimi, Addresses UNGASS on World Drug Problem

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Vienna, 10.09.2015

Today, the Minister of Counter Narcotics Afghanistan, H.E. Minister Azimi, addressed for a second time the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem. In her address, she presented an overview of the counter narcotics efforts in Afghanistan, the emerging challenges and trends as well as the initiatives being undertaken in Afghanistan under the new counter narcotics strategy.

Minister Azimi noted the progress made by Afghanistan in cooperation with the international partners over the past 14 years but despite this progress, illicit narcotics continue to inflict a great deal of damage to Afghan society, the broader region and the world. Minister Azimi elaborated that the first challenge in counter narcotics is that organized crime groups continue to strengthen in the region and abroad including the trafficking of drugs and drug precursors to Afghanistan. She called for improved border security and continued cooperation and support from the international community. A second, challenge is the alarming increase in those addicted to drugs in Afghanistan in recent years. Minister Azimi noted that there are three million addicts in the country with 9% being children and 11% women. She called for integrated efforts in both prevention and treatment to address this tragic phenomenon. The third challenge to be faced is that those farmers involved in poppy cultivation must do so for their livelihood, yet receive only 4% of the 61$ billion illicit drug business. Minister Azimi called for provision of sustainable livelihoods which must be a part of the broader economic development agenda.

In her conclusion, Minister Azimi noted, “The National Unity Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the elimination of opium economy. The new Counter Narcotics Strategy of Afghanistan and the relevant action plan will soon be shared with the international community which will set the priorities and the implementation plans for the years to come… While we are committed to the implementation of such programs and initiatives, we will need continued long-term and demand-driven support to our counter narcotics efforts in the years to come. Our international partners have already provided considerable support including through UNODC, for which we are grateful.”


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H.E. Ambassador Efani Welcomes H.E. Minister Azimi to the UN General Assembly on World Drug Problem

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Vienna, 10.09.2015

H.E. Ambassador Erfani, in his role as Vice-Chair of the Board tasked by the Counter Narcotics Division with the preparations for the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem in 2016, welcomed the Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan, H.E. Minister Azimi. He noted that UNGASS on the World Drug Problem in 2016 is crucial for shaping collective efforts in light of new challenges, trends and realities toward accomplishing counter narcotic targets.

Ambassador Erfani thanked the international community for their continued support towards Afghanistan and noted that while Afghanistan has come far in the last 14 years, challenges remain and support is still needed. He noted that Minister Azimi would speak on the main challenges still faced by Afghanistan in terms of illicit narcotics as well as the commitments and programs Afghanistan has for the next three years to address the challenges of drugs. After Minister Azimi’s speech, Ambassador Erfani chaired comments from the delegates present and thank them for their continued interest and support for Afghanistan and for their commitment in the truly global fight against narcotics.

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Statement by H.E. Salamat Azimi, Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan Special UNGASS Event

Vienna, 10.09.2015

H.E. Ambassador Erfani,

Mr. Aldo Lale-Demoz, Director of the Division for Operations at UNODC,

Madam Jo Dedeyne-Amann, Secretary to the Governing Bodies,

Distinguished delegations,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to have the opportunity for the second time to address an UNGASSSpecial Event to discuss issues of high priority in addressing the world drug problem and to present an overview of our counter narcotics efforts in Afghanistan, the emerging challenges and trends as well as the initiatives that we are undertaking under our new counter narcotics strategy.

I would like to thank the Commission for Narcotic Drugs and the Board tasked with UNGASS Preparations for the invitation extended to me and for the opportunity to speak in today’s meeting.

The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem in 2016 will be crucial to shape our collective efforts in light of the new challenges, trends and realities toward accomplishing our counter narcotics targets as set out in the Political Declaration and Plan of Action of 2009.

I commend the leading and facilitating role played by the Commission and the Board throughout the preparatory process over the past few months. We also highly value the efforts being made by the Permanent Missions in Vienna under this important process.

The Government of Afghanistan is committed to actively contributing to the preparatory process and we are glad to see that Afghanistan has the opportunity to serve as the First-Vice Chair of the Board in run up to the Special Session in April 2016. In this context, we strongly support broader collaboration, based on the principle of shared responsibility, among all member states, relevant UN bodies, international and regional organizations, and civil society organizations, to address to world drug problem.

Distinguished delegations,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 Afghanistan, together with our international partners, has come a long way over the past 14 years with considerable achievements in all political, economic and social areas including in building the foundations of a democratic system and important national institutions in all sectors. The Afghan National Security Forces have been able to take full responsibility for providing security across the country and efforts have been underway in the past few years to further improve their capacity in addressing security challenges in the country including those associated with the menace of narcotics.

Counter narcotics has remained a cross-cutting issue under our national development agenda and considerable efforts have been made in areas such as legislation, institutional building and policy development aimed at improving the capacity of the Government to counter this multi-dimensional menace in the country.

The Ministry of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan as a policy making body is leading and coordinating all counter narcotics efforts in the country andis making every effort to eliminate the opium economy in the country including through development and implementation of new programs and initiatives and the revision of the current laws and strategies under an integrated approach. Despite the efforts and achievements, however, illicit narcotics continues to inflict a great deal of damage to our society as well as to the region and the wider world.

Firstly, organized crime groups are continuously strengthening their networks in our region and beyond. Their activities include not only drug trafficking but also trafficking inchemical precursors to Afghanistan and border areas for heroin production. Theopium economyprovides funding for the terrorist activities. Additionally, a demand-driven marketaccelerates the increase of drug cultivation in Afghanistan and the region.In this context, we believe that the growing link between terrorism and narcotics needs to be addressed under a holistic approach and political commitment at all national, regional and international levels needs to be strengthened. We need to discuss ways to increase operational capacity at both national and regional levels to address trafficking of drugs and precursors as well as to address the new trends including the growing link between narcotics and terrorism and the increasing reliance of traffickers on the sea routes particularly across the southern route. Furthermore, a special attention needs to be given to address the financial aspect of drug trafficking. All countries need to improve border security and management and make full use of facilities and technologies to identify and eliminate safe havens of drug traffickers and organized criminal groups.

Secondly, many countries including Afghanistan have been witnessing an alarming rate of increase in the number of addicts over the past few years .In Afghanistan, tragically, there are three million addicts in the country, among them 9% children and 11% women. We believe that integrated efforts in both prevention and treatment areas need to be made to address this tragic phenomenon and greater financial support needs to be provided to the most affected countries.

Thirdly,many farmers who are involved in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan do so for their livelihood and they only gain 4% from this 61$ billion illicit business.The lion’s share of profitsare skimmed off by the Taliban and regional and international drug networks. As we have long argued, it is with the provision of sustainable alternative livelihood that we can counter the appeal of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and other countries. As successful experiences in various countries show, it requires endurance and well-funded investments to provide alternative livelihood to the farmers and to liberate them from the clutches of the drug and terrorist networks. Experiences also show that in order to increase the effectiveness of alternative livelihood programs we need to incorporate them into the broader economic development agenda and that such programs need to be complemented with infrastructure development and access to national, regional and international markets.

Distinguished delegations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The National Unity Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the elimination of opium economy. The new Counter Narcotics Strategy of Afghanistan and the relevant action plan will soon be shared with the international community which will set the priorities and the implementation plans for the years to come. In my presentation at the Special Event to commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26, 2015 in Vienna, I introduced our major ongoing efforts as well as the outline of our new programs and initiatives. While we are committed to the implementation of such programs and initiatives, we will need continued long-term and demand-driven support to our counter narcotics efforts in the years to come. Our international partners have already provided considerable support including through UNODC, for which we are grateful.

Let us seize the remaining months until UNGASS 2016 with a view to facilitate open and frank discussion about our responsibilities and targets, and on how to meet them based on the principle of shared responsibility.

I look forward to be part of this important session in 2016.

Thank you

 

Speech by H.E Salamat Azimi, Minister of Counter Narcotics of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the OSCE Conference 10-11 September 2015

Vienna, 10.09.2015

Excellencies,

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be part of this important Conference and I would like to thank the OSCE for the invitation extended to me and my delegation and for the opportunity to speak on a very important topic, “how to break connection between drugs and youth”.

I hope that our deliberations in this Conference will help us increase the effectiveness of our measures at all levels to address the spread of drug use among young people.

Before sharing my views on the topic, let me present an overview of drug control situation in Afghanistan. Last year, we witnessed an increase in poppy cultivation which reached 224,000 hectares showing 7% increase compared to previous years. UNODC reports show that during the last few years Afghanistan produced an average of 4900 tons of opium. Two-thirds of this production are processed into heroin and morphine and are consumed in Europe and U.S. markets.  Precursors are key to processing Afghan opiates into heroin and morphine. 1300 tons of precursor chemicals annually is needed in this cycle of production. Afghanistan and neighboring countries are not allowed to produce these chemical substances, and this is indicative of the fact that they are coming from outside the region. Over thousands of tons of such chemicals enter Afghanistan through our neighboring countries. Afghanistan does not need these chemicals for any legal purpose and this has been already reported to the International Narcotics Control Board.

Tragically, Afghanistan has witnessed an alarming rate of addiction over the past few years. Recent surveys show that approximately 2.9 to 3.6 million Afghans could test positive for one or more drugs and 1.0 to 1.2 million of them are children. Of this total, approximately 1.9 to 2.4 million adults and 90000 to 110000 children could be drug users. Nearly one-third (31%) of all households tested positive for one or more drugs. The rural house hold rate is more than three times higher: 39% rural compared to 11% urban.

Approximately 13% of adults tested positive for one to more drugs. The rate for rural adults almost two times higher: 15 % rural compared to 8% urban. About 16% of men and 10% of women tested positive. Drug use among rural men is almost two times higher: 18% of rural men compared 11% for urban men. Drug use among rural women is almost three times higher: 11% rural women compared to 4% of urban women. Approximately 9% of Afghan children tested positive for one or more drug. The percentage for rural children who tested positive is almost six times higher: 11% rural compared to 2% urban.

As in other parts of the world, Afghan youth have been the most vulnerable group to drug use. Unemployment, low literacy rates, deterioration of family relationships, lack of awareness, previous conflicts and associated migration and displacement are among the root causes of drug use among youth in Afghanistan. Youth are also involved in cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs in the country which are linked to several other factors such as high demand in the global market; insecurity and insurgency; poverty; unemployment and lack of alternative livelihoods.  The UNODC Survey 2014 shows that 95 percent of poppy cultivation takes place in nine insecure provinces. Moreover, reports show that the lion’s share of profits from poppy cultivation and drug traffickingare skimmed off by the Taliban and regional and international drug and terrorist networks.

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the elimination of the opium economy in the country. Counter narcotics remains a cross-cutting issue under our national development agenda and considerable efforts have been made in areas such as legislation, institutional building and policy development aimed at improving the capacity of the Government to counter this multi-dimensional menace in the country. The Ministry of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan as a policy making body is leading and coordinating all counter narcotics efforts in the country andis making every effort to eliminate the opium economy in the country including through the development and implementation of new programs and initiatives and the revision of the current laws and strategies under an integrated approach.

Special attention has been given to vulnerable groups such as women, youth and children and focused efforts are being made to address the challenges that youth are facing in Afghanistan in almost all sectors. Our public information campaigns include mini-theater shows, village level awareness programs, media messaging, interviews, symposiums, media outreach and many more outreach efforts.

Despite the efforts and achievements, the road ahead of us is difficult and challenging.  Among the challenges that need to be addressed, I can refer to the following:

  • Insufficient resource allocation to implement programs of alternative livelihood in Afghanistan.
  • Ineffective alternative livelihood programs in some cases.
  • Lack of easy access of Afghan licit products to regional and international markets.
  • Diversion of precursors from licit use in regional and neighboring countries to illicit use in drug production in Afghanistan.
  • Shortage of cooperation and exchange of information at the regional level including on controlled delivery.
  • Insufficient resources in the area of addiction treatment and lack of capacity in the area of prevention including awareness raising.

 In my view, success in countering narcotics in general and addressing the spread of drugs among young people in particular depends on balanced, integrated and long-term efforts in both supply and demand sides and in this context, due attention needs to be given to the following elements:

  • Drug trade is linked with terrorism in my country and in the region and we should address this growing link under a holistic approach.
  • Along with law enforcement efforts, in the long run we need to focus on the root causes of illicit drug cultivation including poverty, unemployment, and lack of alternative livelihood.
  • The drivers of drug business at regional and international levels need to be addressed with a special focus on its financial aspect.
  • Intensified efforts are needed to combat trafficking in precursors and to reduce demand for heroin in the world.
  • The link between cultivation and demand is drug trafficking, so efforts must be concentrated on traffickers who are earning enormous profits.
  • Greater regional cooperation and coordination is needed including in the area of information sharing in order to more effectively counter narcotics.
  • More resources are needed to address the root causes of drug use among young people as well as to strengthen preventive measures including awareness raising among young people.
  • There is a great potential in civil society institutions in helping with preventive measures. We should make best use of this potential and strengthen cooperation between the governmental agencies and civil society institutions.

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let us ensure that the gains we achieved this far became entrenched, and let us produce new ideas and new mechanisms to nourish our partnership and enhance our efforts to tackle the menace of narcotics.

The National Unity Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the elimination of opium economy. In few weeks, the new Counter Narcotics Strategy of Afghanistan and the new Drug Control Action Plan will be shared with the international community which will set the priorities and the implementation plans for the years to come. While we are grateful for the support that has been provided by the international community to our counter narcotics efforts in the past 14 years including by the OSCE participating states and partners for cooperation, I hope that we will witness even greater support to the implementation of our new counter narcotics strategy and the relevant action plan in the years to come.

Thank you,

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan commemorates the ‘Week of Martyrs’

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Today, to commemorate the ‘Week of Martyrs’ the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna hosted a religious ceremony to remember those who had given their lives in the fight for a free, independent, prosperous  and united Afghanistan. Members of the Afghan community, heads of Afghan civil society, as well as religious leaders and Embassy staff, joined Ambassador Erfani in commemorating those who had fallen, through a prayer service.

All attendees participated in the ceremony with Afghan women, men and youth reading passages from the Koran to honour those who sacrificed their lives over the three decades of war and conflict in Afghanistan.

Following the religious ceremony, Ambassador Erfani spoke of theimportance of remembering the many Afghans who lost their lives in the fight to protect the ideals of freedom, equality and liberty in the country. Ambassador Erfani statted that today, the 9th of September, is the 14th Anniversary of the martyrdom of Afghan national hero Ahmad Shah Massoud who was assassinated by two terrorists just two days before the September 11th attacks on the United States. People of Afghanistan lost their very dear leaders, among them Professor Rabbani, Haji Qadir, Abdullah Karzai, Motalliab Beg, Ahmad Khan Samangani, Sayed Mustafa Kazemi, Abdul Rahim Ghafoorzai and others from all ethnic groups of Afghanistan. They will be remembered in the heart and mind of peace loving Afghans. Ambassador Erfani spoke of how now, more than ever, it is vital that we not forget the sacrifice they have made and how we must continue to protect these ideals during this essential Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). Afghanistan has achieved so much in way of stability and prosperity for the country that we must continue to strive to ensure these achievements are not destroyed by enemies of Afghanistan.  Ambassador Erfani concluded by paying tribute to the Martyrs of Afghanistan by expressing strong solidarity and sympathy with the victims and their families who fought in order to achieve a free and prosperous Afghanistan. He also thanked the sacrifices made by the partners in the international community over the last three decades. He said all Afghans and international friends will always be remembered for the sacrifice they made and we will continue to work towards accomplishing the wish of the Afghan Martyrs for a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan.

Following the ceremony and discussion, those in attendance had the opportunity to speak of and discuss with Ambassador Erfani and Embassy staff of those who they have lost to the actions of destructive forces in the country and of the ongoing situation in the country.

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