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26 June 2002

Note on the celebration of 26 June 2002 in Kabul



speech during the eventToday, on 26 June 2002, the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was celebrated in Kabul with great success. Mr. Hamid Karzai, Head of State of the Afghan Transitional Government, and Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, UN SRSG, participated in the event and delivered a speech on behalf of the Afghan Government and the United Nations, respectively. Other officials attending the event included Mr. Ashraf Ghani, Minister of Finance, Mr. Taj Mohammad Wardak, Minister of Interior, Mr. Abdul Hai Elahi, Head of SHCDC, Gen. Asif Delawar, Chief of Army Staff, Mr. Samiullah Qatra, Commander General of Border Control, Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Atmar, Adviser to the President, Gen. Ghulam Ghous Nasiri, Deputy Minister of Interior, Mr. Abdul Basir Farahi, Director of Security Branch in Supreme Court, Mr. Mawlana Manavi, Deputy to Head of Justice, Mr. ajmal Faiz, Director General of Higher Education, Mr. Sibghatullah Saqib, Chief of Cirme Branch within the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Shirin Agha, Attorney General, Mr. Akbar Popal, Chancellor of Kabul University, Mr. Qarabaig, Director of Afghan Red Crescent Society, Mr. Midad Panjshiri, advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Mr. Aimaq, Major of Kabul. Additionally, a number of United Nations agencies were represented. Finally, about 100 children as well as several artist groups attended and contributed to the celebration of the day.

The event was jointly organized by UN ODCCP and the State High Commission for Drug Control (SHCDC). The celebration took place, from 9.00-14.00, in the auditorium of the University of Kabul. For the purpose of the day, the auditorium was impressively decorated with banners carrying anti-drug slogans and posters from a competition.

The programme of the event included deliberations by Mr. Karzai, Mr. Brahimi, and several officials from the Afghan Government. Children and artist groups presented music, poem recitations and drama performance.

In his speech, Mr. Karzai referred to two drug-related problems in Afghanistan, the increasing number of heroin addicts and the cultivation and trafficking of opium which poses a severe threat for agricultural development and diverts money out of the country. He stressed two initiatives to tackle the problem. The eradication of opium poppy, which was assisted by Afghan people, reached results which were not only of importance for the International community but for Afghanistan itself. Secondly, a decisive message was given that all laboratories will be destroyed and drug trafficking will be stopped. He finally indicated that the reason for development of the large scale poppy cultivation in Afghanistan in the past was related to the fact that the people of Afghanistan did not have possession over the country which has, however, changed now.

Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi praised the Government headed by Mr. Karzai for the efforts they deployed to address the drug problem despite limited means. He indicated that Afghanistan had given a strong message to its people and to the rest of the world that the country, its government and its people, will not tolerate drug cultivation anymore. He further said that, fortunately, Afghanistan is not afflicted with a very big problem of drug abuse. Its neighbouring countries, however, faced a huge challenge of drug consumption. In this context, reference was made to the Central Asian countries, Iran and Pakistan. In Iran, there are at least 1.5 Mill. drug addicts and in Pakistan, at least 3 Mill. Afghanistan was taking up the challenge in cooperation with the international community to eradicate the cultivation of drugs. Turning to the United Nations, Mr. Brahimi referred to UNDCP as having worked with Afghanistan for many years. He stressed that the coordination of the international community will continue and improve in order to provide effective support to the struggle of the Government and the people of Afghanistan against drugs.

In his welcome note, Mr. Elahi, Head of SHCDC, introduced the structure, activities and plans of the Commission and referred to the current drug trafficking situation in Afghanistan as expressed in seizure and arrest statistics.

Mr. Taj Mohammad Wardak, The Minister of Interior, pointed out two actions which will be undertaken in combating drugs in Afghanistan, first, assistance to farmers in order to eliminate poppy cultivation, and second, the fight against drug trafficking.

The recreational presentations received high appreciation by the audience including Mr. Karzai and Mr. Brahimi. Children and artists received gifts, and winners of the poster and article competitions, which were carried out prior to 26 June, were awarded prices during the event. The official ceremony was followed by a lunch reception.


For more information, please contact:
Mr. Bernard Frahi, bernard.frahi.undcp@undpafg.org.pk
UNDCP Country Office for Afghanistan