ISLAMABAD - Afghan representative Noor Mohammad Hashmat on Wednesday urged Pakistan, Iran and other neighboring states to invest in his country and help strengthen law-enforcement agencies in Kabul to eliminate cultivation source of drugs in order to break the supply and demand of illicit drugs.

“Collaboration with Afghanistan in the capacity building of law-enforcement agencies, alternative development and reduction in demand of drugs is mandatory to curtail threats of narcotics in the region,” Afghan representative Noor Muhammad Hashmat said, while speaking at the “Regional Counter-Narcotics Seminar and Workshop” organised by United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).

Hashmat who is considered to be one of the leading experts on narcotics control in Afghanistan said his country was home to 90 percent of opium cultivation in the world and suggested that the cultivation source could only be reduced with the help of the neighbouring countries by strengthening the anti-drug authorities in Kabul.

He said the drug seizure rate was based on the opium produced in Afghanistan on annual basis. The easiest, the most effective and efficient way of supply control is to eliminate the cultivation source, he said, adding the neighbouring countries should invest in the area of law-enforcement in Afghanistan to control the supply of drugs.

Hashmat maintained that reduction of opium production in one area can increase the production in the other, because the global drug addiction is an attractive market for drug trade. “Control over drug market and introduction of effective and efficient drug treatment modalities is necessary for eradication of the menace,” he observed.

He said peace and security is essential to control drug trafficking. “Insecurity not only creates a good environment for farmers to grow opium poppy and limits the choice of alternative income opportunities available to farmers, but also facilitates anti-government elements to intensify their insurgence and terrorist activities through financial incentives of the drug business,” he maintained.

He said absence of proper systems and processes to stop money laundering fuels corruption, terrorism and instability, so each country should set up a strong financial intelligence unit (FIU) to identify the money laundering areas and arrest the people involved in it, he opined.

Dr Ali Reza Jazini, deputy secretary general, Iranian Drug Control Headquarters, said because of the failure of the development projects and other measures carried out by the international community in Afghanistan, the level of cultivation and production of opiates there has increased alarmingly.

Owing to rise in drug production and flow from Afghanistan, Iran has given preference to the implementation of a balanced strategy, incorporating demand and supply reduction as well as promotion of regional and international cooperation for combating the global scourge of illicit drugs, he said.

He said Iran believes that controlling drug-related proceeds means cutting drug traffickers’ lifeline. Various regulatory bodies have been added to the committees associated with the detection of drug-related proceeds, restricting the domain of drug-trafficking activities, he averred. “Halting cultivation and production which is a point of commonality amongst all drug-control programmes in the world will not be realised without the global support,” he held.

Aamir Abdullah of Gulf Cooperation Council’s Criminal Intelligence Centre (GCCC-IC), in his presentation, said the centre holds a course-specialised training in the mechanism of control over precursor chemicals.

He said the centre also coordinates the efforts made by the member states in combating drugs and chemical precursors. The GCCC-IC is collecting data related to illicit trafficking in drugs and chemical precursors, he said.