UNODC in Afghanistan

History of UNODC in the Region

As a spin-off of the Regional Office in South West Asia, based in Islamabad (Pakistan), in 1989 UNODC opened a satellite office in Peshawar (Pakistan) to carry out cross-border operations in Afghanistan. The Office of the Representative was established in Kabul in 1991 while the project office remained in Peshawar. Due to security concerns and civil war, the office was again relocated to Islamabad, Pakistan in 1992. With the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 and the establishment of the Afghan Interim Government following the Bonn Agreement, the country office was reopened in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2002.

Today the UNODC Country Office for Afghanistan is situated in Kabul and in five key provinces (Balkh, Badakshan, Herat, Kandahar and Nangarhar).


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs, transnational organized crime, terrorism and corruption. As an organization with significant institutional memory expertise's on the issues related to drugs and  crime.

His  presence is a guarantee of  support to the Afghan people and the Afghan Government to address effectively the drug control and crime issues in the country, thereby achieving security and stability.

The agency helps the Afghan government to change the drugs and crime situation by providing evidence-based policy advice, and guiding the delivery of effective counter-narcotics and criminal justice interventions. UNODC's activities are closely coordinated within the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The challenges posed by narcotics and organized crime in Afghanistan are immense and cannot be dealt with in the short term only. UNODC has neither the resources nor the capacity to diminish the illicit economy unilaterally. UNODC is full of determination to shape the future of counter narcotics and rule of law in close co-operation with the Afghan Government and its partners.

Strategic Focus

UNODC has a strong presence and a long history of partnership with the government of Afghanistan and specialized expertise in areas such as law enforcement, criminal justice, drug demand reduction, HIV/AIDS among drug users and alternative livelihoods. UNODC is offering a strong coordination platform to enhance operational planning and facilitation, and is uniquely placed to provide that support.

There are three six guiding principles for UNODC in Afghanistan:

  • Ownership and sustainability - Afghanization of national drug and crime responses through genuine capacity building of the key national stakeholders
  • Subsidiarity - Interplay between local, national and regional dimensions
  • Exploiting internal and external synergies - Enabling partnerships and maximizing impact
  • Impact-oriented effective aid - Countering corruption
  • Reaching out to vulnerable populations
  • Promotion of human rights and gender sensitive actions

UNODC uses a geographic model to guide its assistance to Afghanistan:

At the regional level UNODC uses its status as a UN body, its neutrality and its international network of country offices within a very complex political arena, seeking convergence of interests among divergent regional partners.

At the national level UNODC supports line ministries and national institutions by providing international standards and norms as well as undisputed research and analysis on drug and crime issues for policy making.

At the local and provincial level UNODC aims to promote the roll-out of services to provinces, thereby consolidating progress in opium reduction and the rule of law.

COAFG Organizational Structure

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