Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan open anti-drug trafficking meeting

17:55, November 24, 2010      

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Ministers and senior officials of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan Wednesday opened a two-day meeting in Islamabad to deepen cooperation in their fight against drug trafficking in a series of meetings of the Triangular Initiative.

The agenda of the meeting is enhancing the work of the first regional law enforcement operations center. The Joint Planning Cell (JPC) in Tehran opened in 2009 to facilitate information sharing and operations aimed at seizing illicit drugs.

The meeting will also discuss organizing more joint operations to stop the flow of illicit drugs. Six joint operations have taken place, leading to significant drug seizures - almost 2,500 kilograms of opium, heroin and hashish - and the arrests of at least 74 drug traffickers.

The other item on agenda will be expanding and strengthening border controls between the three states. The countries have started to open a network of Border Liaison Offices (BLOs) to increase cross-border cooperation between law enforcement agencies.

The Triangular Initiative is facilitated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and brings together the ministers from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan responsible for drug control.

The three countries focus at finding solutions to the threats posed by drug trafficking in the region by enhancing cooperation in law enforcement. The UNODC provides assistance to the three countries in implementing their agreements.

Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan Zarar Ahmad Moqbel Osmani, Secretary-General of the Drug Control Headquarters of Iran Eng Mostafa Mohammad Najjar and Pakistani Federal Minister for Narcotics Control Arbab Muhammad Zahir are expected to issue a declaration on Thursday.

Also the Executive Director of the UNODC, Yury Fedotov, is also participating in the meeting, a UNDCO spokesperson said.

Zahir stressed during the meeting the need for enhancing cooperation between Iran and Pakistan to effectively fight against drug trafficking and organized crimes.

The minister said that opium comes to Pakistan from Afghanistan, terming that law and order situation in Afghanistan as the real problem.

Zahir opined that strength of anti-narcotics force in Pakistan is not enough to control drug trafficking and the government is recruiting about 600 more people for increasing the strength of anti-narcotics force.

Unofficial surveys suggested drug abuse in Pakistan is on the rise as an estimated five million addicts - three million from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas - are hooked on substances such as heroin, opium and hashish. Poverty, lawlessness, unemployment and low literacy rates are cited as the major reasons for drug use.

Source: Xinhua


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