Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, September 21, 2007

U.S. supports poppy eradication progress in Afghanistan, but calls for further reform

The U.S. State Department’s annual report on drug-trafficking recently identified 20 major drug-transit and drug-producing countries, including Afghanistan – which provides the majority of the world’s opium supply, according to Radio Free Europe /Radio Liberty.

The report praised Afghanistan for marked improvement against poppy cultivation, particularly in the northern provinces, 13 of which are now poppy-free, according to Christy McCampbell, head of the department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.

However, McCampbell concedes that the same progress has not been evident in the southern provinces, where the Taliban has a stronghold.

“Despite the significant gains the country has made since 2001, the country does continue to face tremendous challenges. Not addressing these challenges now could undermine security, compromise democratic legitimacy, and imperil international support for vital assistance to that country,” McCampbell said.

Poppy cultivation continues to be a major source of income for the many of Afghanistan’s farmers and accounts for approximately one-third of the entire country’s economy. Although the U.S. will not immediately withdraw aid from the country, Afghan President Hamid Karzai continues to be pressured to do more to combat the poppy problem.

For the full article, click here.

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