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NATO must do more to stem Afghan drug trade, UN official says

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Sept 18, 2008
NATO needs to take more action in the fight against drug trafficking in Afghanistan, a senior UN official said Wednesday.

Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said NATO forces should bomb production laboratories where more than 60 percent of Afghan opium is processed and then exported.

"The international forces (in Afghanistan) could destroy these laboratories within 24 hours," he told reporters at a breakfast meeting in Paris, "It's also cost-effective for us."

NATO should "disrupt the supply chain" by attacking drug convoys and markets as well as clamping down on the import of chemicals used to make opium, he added.

Costa criticised the reluctance of "European countries" to tackle the problem, without specifying names.

"We've called upon intelligence agencies worldwide to find out what's happening but we still don't have the answer," he said.

Costa was in Paris to meet with the French National Assembly's foreign affairs and defence commissions ahead of a debate in Parliament on Afghanistan September 22.

In an article published in Le Monde's Friday edition, Costa wrote that "NATO troops are being killed with weapons bought from drug profits."

"This level of action needs French support - to stop the enrichment of the Taliban, to stop attacks against soldiers and stop Afghan heroin killing 100,000 people this year worldwide," he wrote in the article.

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Suspected US missile kill five in northwest Pakistan: officials
Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) Sept 17, 2008
At least five people were killed when four missiles fired by suspected US drones Wednesday struck a compound in a northwestern Pakistani tribal area near the Afghan border, officials said.

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