France calls for anti-drug force in Afghanistan

7th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (AFP) - French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie called Thursday for creation of a separate international force for Afghanistan that would deal with the growing problem of illegal drug cultivation in the country.

WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (AFP) - French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie called Thursday for creation of a separate international force for Afghanistan that would deal with the growing problem of illegal drug cultivation in the country.   

"Like the international community, France is concerned about narcotics and is willing to help," the minister wrote in an article published in The Washington Post. "We will need to take advantage of the post-election dynamics to act quickly and help Afghanistan combat this problem."  

She said NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will not be enough to handle the problem.   

"It will be necessary to establish an international force, other than the ISAF, specifically tasked with counter-narcotics operations," Alliot-Marie pointed out. "And a third axis is necessary, one which would support the development of substitute crops on a local basis."   

According to the minister, 28 of the country's 32 provinces are apparently producing opium, and employing more than 1.7 million people at this work.   

She also cited UN data indicating that opium production in Afghanistan in 2003 amounted to about 3,600 tonnes, or three-quarters of world production.   

"More then 90 percent of the heroin arriving in France comes from Afghanistan," complained Alliot-Marie.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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