Karzai speaks out vs drug smuggling, profiteering

President Hamid Karzai urged neighbouring countries on Saturday to do more to curb smuggling of drugs.

Kabul: President Hamid Karzai urged
neighbouring countries on Saturday to do more to curb smuggling of
drugs from Afghanistan, saying his government lacks the
resources to seal its own borders.

The Afghan leader also urged anti-corruption
officials to monitor the incomes of all government figures and
their families -- including his own -- to make sure they were
earning their money legally.

Karzai`s younger half brother is a wealthy and
influential leader in Kandahar province, a hotbed of insurgent
and criminal activities.

Karzai spoke to several hundred Afghan officials as
America`s top military officer, Adm Mike Mullen, arrived in
Afghanistan in the wake of Wednesday`s firing of Gen Stanley
McChrystal, the commander of US and NATO forces.

Mullen told Karzai in a meeting that McChrystal`s
successor, Gen David Petraeus, is an experienced commander who
will pursue the policies crafted by McChrystal, according to a
statement from the presidential office.

On the battlefield, three international service
members, including at least one American, were killed today in
two separate roadside bombings in southern Afghanistan, NATO
said. That brought to 87 the number of international troops
killed so far in June -- already the deadliest month of the
nearly 9-year-old war. The figure includes at least 51

During his speech marking International Narcotics
Day, Karzai acknowledged that curbing Afghanistan`s huge drug
trade remains a major challenge, despite success in reducing
or eradicating opium poppy cultivation in 22 of the country`s
34 provinces.

"We will work strongly against poppies and other
narcotics for our national interest, honour, the welfare of
Afghan people and development," he said. But he said the
problem will not be solved until other countries crack down on
smugglers within their own borders who profit from the traffic
in Afghan poppies and heroin.

He said Afghanistan is a "poor and weak country
that cannot control its borders" and asked its neighbours "why
can`t you control your borders?"

Karzai did not cite countries by name but UN
experts have pointed to Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan as major
transit points for Afghan drugs smuggled into Russia and
Western Europe.


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