Kabul rejects UN conditional aid

Afghanistan has rejected proposals by a senior UN drug official that aid given to the war-ravaged country should be linked to the results it shows in fighting opium production.

    War-scarred Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium

    The newly created Afghan counter-narcotics ministry in Kabul said on Wednesday it had objected to a recent statement from the world body that created conditions for investment.


    The ministry statement attributed the UN suggestion to Antonio Maria Costa and said "

    Afghanistan will not accept aid conditionality".


    Costa, a senior official from the UN Organisation for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said last week that international aid to Afghanistan should be made conditional on the

    country showing real results and progress in the fight against opium production.


    Alternative livelihoods


    President Hamid Karzai has
    declared a jihad on drugs

    "I would like to urge Mr Costa to continue to encourage the international community to provide resources for alternative livelihoods" for the farmers, the statement quoted Minister of Counter-Narcotics Habib Allah Qaderi as saying.


    It said that Afghanistan was committed to eliminating the illicit poppy cultivation and was confident that the world community also "shares equal responsibility" to help Afghanistan in its drug fight.


    Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium, which is used to make heroin. In 2004, Afghanistan accounted for 87% of world opium production and the majority of heroin consumed in Europe.


    Opium smuggled


    According to the independent daily Cheragh on Wednesday, opium is smuggled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.


    "Afghanistan will not accept aid conditionality"

    Afghan counter-narcotics ministry

    The paper suggested that "these countries should be urged to track down and prosecute members of the international drugs mafia and drugs smugglers and tighten security along their borders".


    "If the United States and other countries would like to eradicate heroin production, they should put pressure on Pakistan and Iran and force them to close down their heroin laboratories which are openly operating within their countries," the daily said.


    President Hamid Karzai declared a jihad in December against drugs.


    The US has also decided to make drug eradication a priority, pledging $780 million to help Afghanistan combat drugs in 2005.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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