Afghan drugs: a global problem (by Ambassador Yakovenko, for Russia Today)

A few days ago under Russian Presidency the UN Security Council held a discussion on the situation in Afghanistan with particular focus on the production of illicit drugs in this country. As a result, the President of the Security Council issued a statement. Illicit drugs trafficking remains a significant threat to international peace and stability and Russia is committed to countering this threat on national and international level.
According to World Drug Report 2013 Afghanistan remains one of the foremost sources for opiates and cannabis resin. The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime informs that Afghanistan had increased area under poppy cultivation by 36 per cent from 154,000 hectares in 2012 to 209,000 hectares in 2013. With a crop yield of some 5500 tons, Afghanistan accounted for up to 80 per cent of global opium production. The increase in opium cultivation, trafficking and consumption continues to cause serious harm to the stability, security, social and economic development and governance of Afghanistan, as well as to the region and internationally. It creates a ground for terrorism and transnational organized crime, money-laundering, trafficking in illicit drugs and illegal arms to flourish. This situation emphasizes the need to enhance coordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to this serious challenge and, in particular, to close connection between international terrorism and illicit drugs.
Russia on its part put a lot of effort in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on identification of the illicit financial flows linked to Afghan drug production and trafficking. We also provide the training of Afghan law enforcement officers on combating illicit drugs at the Domodedovo Police Academy of Russia.
We welcome the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan in fighting drug production. At the same time, Kabul should make this fight its top priority. We called on the Afghan Government, with the assistance of the international community, to accelerate the implementation of the National Drug Control Strategy, including through alternative livelihood programmes. We also call on the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to further effectively support, within its designated responsibilities, Afghan-led sustained efforts to address drug production and trafficking, in cooperation with relevant international and regional actors. Unfortunately, at this stage the ISAF is not making enough in this regard.
It is highly important to combine the efforts of the existing regional and international cooperation and coordination mechanisms in order to develop an integrated, comprehensive and balanced response to the drug problem, including as part of a long-term security, development and institution-building agenda. We welcome in this regard the continued commitment of the international organizations including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
We underline the importance of the counter-narcotics issue for the United Nations’ engagement in Afghanistan and a priority element of a common strategy to build a stable, safe and prosperous country.