The Taliban is the "key provider" of drugs in Afghanistan and are an "umbrella of international terrorism" in the country, the Afghan acting Minister of Interior Massoud Andarabi said on Thursday while speaking at a lecture organized by the Afghan Institute of Strategic Studies (AISS) on "Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Reform in the Ministry of Interior."
According to Andarabi, the Taliban have also created conditions for the presence of "terror groups" in Afghanistan, as senior representatives from the United States and the Taliban push to cement concrete steps for a potential peace agreement in Doha.
“The Taliban are the umbrella of the development, the emergence, the activity and the presence of international terrorism in Afghanistan, like Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations,” said Andarabi.
Speaking about the reform policy of the Ministry of Interior, Andarabi said the ministry has saved nearly 4 billion afs as part of the reform policy over the past one year.
Andrabi said that over the past two years, challenges including leadership, management, corruption, accountability, lack of training, and logistical mismanagement in the ministry have been identified.
He said the ministry has put plans and strategies in place to address these challenges.
“The new officers’ law, the de-politicization of senior police ranks, and the "civilian-ization" of certain police departments are some of the steps the ministry has taken”, he said.
Meanwhile, The US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells said that 85 percent of the fields cultivated with poppy exist in areas under the control of the Taliban.
“The fundamental fact is that 85 percent of the opium production takes place in areas that are controlled or contested by the Taliban, and so fundamentally, you are going to have to address the security issue through a peace process that allows you then to tackle the root causes and to expand programs like income substitution,” said Wells in a panel discussion organized by the Heritage Foundation.
Lisa Curtis, deputy assistant to US president Donald Trump, also suggested the need to prevent funding for the Taliban from drug money.
The Taliban so far has not commented.