An advisory body, the Mini Dublin Group for Afghanistan, held its first session in Kabul on Monday, Dec. 2, with hopes of playing a role in building cooperation and encouraging dialogue in the fight against drug-trafficking and drug abuse in the country.
Hosted by the French embassy in Kabul, the meeting was attended by Afghanistan’s acting Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi, the special representative for the United Nations Secretary-General, and representatives of 19 countries and organizations, including the European Union, NATO and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The meeting was chaired by the French ambassador, David Martinon, according to a statement by the embassy.
The group, according to the statement, is dedicated to the fight against drug-trafficking and will serve as an advisory body whose local branch for Afghanistan will be based at the French embassy in Kabul.
A main topic of discussion at today’s meeting was ways to best coordinate collective efforts.
According to UNODC figures, Afghanistan ranks first worldwide when it comes to producing opium (90%), is the second “most important” producer of cannabis and has seen over the last years a dramatic increase in the production of methamphetamine.
The country is also confronted with a difficult situation in terms of local drug addiction, which is estimated to impact 11% of the Afghan population, UNODC figures show.
The members of the “Mini Dublin Group for Afghanistan” are committed to continuing working in “close cooperation” with Afghan authorities and will take actions in order to enhance the effectiveness of the fight against drugs, the group said in a statement.
The statement said there will not be no durable peace in Afghanistan as long as narco-traffic revenues channel financial support to terrorist groups. In response to this, international actors agreed to step up their collective mobilization--together `with representatives the Afghan Government--to reinforce dialogue to counter the illicit drug situation.
The members of the Mini Dublin Group agreed to launch an operational coordination body that will include all concerned or interested states represented in Kabul, notably regional actors and neighboring countries.