Construction of the Counter Narcotics Directorate in Farah Province begins

March 2012 - Members of the local and national government and UNODC representatives laid down the foundation stone in January for the construction of the provincial office of the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) in Farah province.

Farah is the third largest poppy cultivating province in Afghanistan. Opium cultivation is in increase in Farah province since 2009, and it rose to 17,449 ha in 2011 from 14,552 in 2010.

The construction of the Counter Narcotics Directorate for Farah province was request by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics, and is implemented under the UNODC's project Strengthening Provincial Capacity for Drug Control (AFG/I87).

During the ceremony, Mr. Mohammad Younus Rasoli, Deputy Governor of Farah Province spoke about the economic and social repercussions of rising opium production, and its impacts on security conditions as well as the use of illicit drugs in Farah province. Thanking the UNODC, he said "an office building for Counter Narcotics Directorate in Farah province is an imperative need".

The central goal of the project AFG/I87 is to strengthen the provincial capacity of the MCN in order to enable the Ministry to implement the National Drug Control Strategy at the provincial level. The role of the provincial offices of the MCN is to assist the provincial administration to mainstream counter narcotics strategies into their provincial development plans. "The projects that are in pipeline for Farah province, as well as the inclusion of the province in the Food Zone Plan, will prove significant in strengthening provincial counter narcotics capability to eliminate opium production", said at the ceremony, Mohammad Humayon Faizzad, Director General for the Provincial Offices of the MCN. He also thanked UNODC for its continuous assistance to the Ministry of Counter Narcotics across the country. So far UNODC constructed office buildings for Counter Narcotics Directorates in Nangarhar, Balkh and Badakhshan provinces, and renovated the Directorate of Counter Narcotics in Kandahar province.

"UNODC remains committed in assisting the MCN and helping the Ministry to build its capacity throughout the 34 Afghan provinces. We also plan to construct Directorate buildings for the MCN in Ghor and Helmand provinces", said Jeremy Milsom, UNODC Senior Advisor of Counter-Narcotics Programme. The pre-construction activities of the Farah provincial Counter Narcotics Directorate started in December 2011, while it is expected that the building will completed by October 2012. The construction of the Farah provincial directorate of the MCN is supported by the Government of Finland and the Government of Japan.