Press Releases

    8 April 2002


    VIENNA, 8 April (UN Information Service) -- The President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Prof. Hamid Ghodse, welcomes the second decree on eradication of drugs with a specific aim to eradicate the current poppy crop issued by the Afghan Interim Administration on 3 April. He particularly welcomes the fact that, for the first time, loans made to farmers can no longer be repaid in the form of opium. This is now explicitly forbidden by decree, and whoever demands such repayment from farmers with an illicit product will be liable to imprisonment.

    The Board is pleased with this new development, as it further reflects the determination and commitment of the Afghan Interim Administration to fighting against drug abuse and illicit trafficking and responds to the concern of the Board. The Board urges the authorities of Afghanistan to make every effort to ensure that the ban is strictly and effectively enforced.

    Cognisant of the fact that the capacity of the Afghan authorities to successfully implement the provisions of the drug control conventions is still quite limited, the international community must give every attempt to eliminate the illicit cultivation of opium poppy and the illicit manufacture and trafficking of opiates. The Board, in its Annual Report for 2001, under article 14bis of the 1961 Convention, urges the international community to assist Afghanistan in preventing the resumption of illicit opium poppy cultivation and the related production and trafficking of opiates.

    The Board remains concerned, however, that widespread illicit cultivation of opium poppy continues to take place in Afghanistan. Following a pre-assessment survey of opium poppy cultivation, conducted by UNDCP earlier this year, the Interim Administration has confirmed that cultivation has resumed at a relatively high level throughout the country after the considerable decline recorded in 2001.

    The Board reiterates that reconstruction of Afghanistan, as well as lasting peace and security in Afghanistan, cannot possibly be achieved without addressing the problem of drugs, which will require the simultaneous involvement of both the Afghan authorities and all relevant intergovernmental bodies concerned with its reconstruction.

    The International Narcotics Control Board is empowered under article 14 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, to take measures to ensure the execution of the provisions of that treaty. The Board formally invoked article 14 with respect to Afghanistan in June 2000, and the invoking of this article will remain in force until such time as the Board is satisfied that Afghanistan complies fully with the provisions of the above convention. The Board therefore continues to closely monitor the progress made by the Government of Afghanistan on compliance with the provisions of the 1961 Convention.

    The Board will continue the formal consultations initiated under article 14 of the 1961 Convention with the Afghan authorities with a view to achieving full compliance by Afghanistan with the provisions of the international drug control conventions, particularly the 1961 Convention.

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