New York: The United Nations has said that corruption must be stamped out and borders strengthened to render emerging Afghan drug cartels out of business, particularly in the new “Golden Triangle” of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.
“All of the Afghan opium obviously is exported,” Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) told reporters yesterday.
“Most of it is exported to either Iran or Pakistan,” he noted and called for strengthened cooperation among the three countries to stem illicit drug trafficking.
Costa, who briefed the Security Council on his agency’s latest report on opium cultivation in Afghanistan, called corruption the “major lubricant” facilitating both the cultivation and trading of opium.
He welcomed a new Council-imposed initiative, in which major traffickers can have their assets seized, be banned from travel and face arrest, to prevent burgeoning cartels from becoming worldwide entities.
“Robbing a bank is much more profitable than working for a bank,” Costa remarked, acknowledging the financial incentives for harvesting illicit crops are much more than legal ones.
In this context, he called for greater efforts to promote development in Afghanistan to provide farmers currently engaged in opium production an alternative.
While six of the centre-north provinces in Afghanistan, potentially doubling to 12 by this summer, have been certified as drug-free, “the situation is out of control in the southern part of the country.”