Britain Doubles Funding for Fighting Drugs in Afghanistan

Britain says it plans to double its spending on anti-drug efforts in Afghanistan. But British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw adds that without a balanced approach, extra funds will do little to solve the problem.
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During a day trip to the capital Kabul, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw discussed Afghanistan's growing narcotics trade.

Speaking to reporters after his meetings with Afghan leaders, Mr. Straw said that his country plans to increase its anti-narcotics aid to Afghanistan from $50 million to $100 million.

He said to stamp out opium cultivation in Afghanistan, both the consumer and producer sides must be dealt with.

"We have to do more about constraining demand back in the West. And second, poor farmers have to be provided with alternative livelihoods," he said.

Many Afghan farmers remain in debt to drug traffickers and are forced to continue to grow opium poppies to survive.

Mr. Straw said that law enforcement alone is not enough to stamp out narcotics in Afghanistan.

"If all you are doing is interdiction and law enforcement, you will not deal with the underlying economic causes of the drug economy here in Afghanistan," he noted.

Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah says the government's new anti-drug policy is comprehensive and contains both law enforcement as well as economic measures. He says international community fully supports this policy.

Afghanistan's former Taleban regime was able to more or less stop opium production in most of the country it controlled. But since it was ousted in 2001, Afghanistan has once again become the worldÂ’s largest producer of opium.


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