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Afghanistan, neighboring countries boost anti-drugs cooperation


09:06, December 08, 2011

VIENNA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Afghanistan and seven neighboring countries on Wednesday launched an UN-backed plan to boost regional cooperation in their anti-drugs efforts.

The move follows an international conference on Afghanistan held in the German city of Bonn to set the course for the country after the 2014 handover of power to the Afghan government.

"Given the gradual disengagement of the International Security Assistance Force, the international community will increasingly look to the United Nations to take on additional responsibilities in supporting Afghanistan," said Yury Fedotov, the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

"The agreement by eight national officials to cement cooperation, especially in information-sharing, is unprecedented," added Fedotov in his statement.

He also pointed out: "Because the coming years are absolutely crucial for Afghanistan's future, we must produce a response based on shared responsibility and concrete action."

Representatives from Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan launched UNODC 2011-2014 Regional Programme in Vienna, the UN agency announced.

According to a press release of the UNODC, the Regional Programme focuses on counter-narcotics and the rule of law in order to respond effectively to drug trafficking and organized crime.

Future works may also include training counter-narcotics law enforcement officials; conducting joint raids, drug seizures and border controls; and combating cross border illicit money flows, the statement said.

The UNODC says some 90 percent of the world's illicit opium was produced in Afghanistan in the past five years.

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