Afghan opium production jumps to record level (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)
According to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2017 opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 per cent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons. The area under opium poppy cultivation also grew by 63 per cent to its highest level of 328,000 hectares.
Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy from which opium and heroin are produced. The 2017 record levels of opium production and poppy cultivation create multiple challenges for the country, its neighbours and many other countries that serve as a transit for or a destination of Afghan opiates. The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan.
Addressing the opiate problem in Afghanistan remains a shared responsibility. The UN Security Council designates the country’s drug industry as a threat to the international peace and security. The Afghan authorities, with the full support of the international community, will need to make additional efforts in order to intensify the fight against this evil. It is high time for the international community and Afghanistan to reprioritize drug control, and to acknowledge that every nation has a shared responsibility for this global problem.
Russia believes that regional efforts to curb Afghan drug trafficking should be promoted with the support of the Paris Pact initiative, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). At the same time, we will continue to build further cooperation with Kabul in order to strengthen its anti-drug potential, within the projects carried out jointly with UNODC and Japan to train law enforcement personnel at the Russian Interior Ministry training centres.