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    Afghanistan Needs Help From SCO to Fight Terrorism, Drug Trafficking

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    Founder of Afghan Community Foundation noted that terrorism was an issue that was important not only for Afghanistan itself and members of the SCO members, but for Western nations as well.

    MOSCOW, December 12 (Sputnik) — In order to fight terrorism and drug production and trafficking in the country, Afghanistan needs the assistance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries, founder of Afghan Community Foundation Najib Paikan and former Counter Narcotics Minister Gen. Khodaidad told Sputnik Radio on Friday.

    "Afghanistan is the primary source of terrorist threat to the SCO members. That is why the SCO has to engage in resolving the Afghanistan issue," Paikan said. "To stop it, our country needs the cooperation and support of the organization."

    Paikan noted that terrorism was an issue that was important not only for Afghanistan itself and members of the SCO members, but for Western nations as well.

    Last stage of the previous year's SCO anti-terrorist exercise Peace Mission - 2013.
    © Photo : Press service of the Central Military District
    "There is an area where the Western countries and the SCO aim for the same thing. It is terrorism. I think to achieve significant results in this area, the three sides need to act jointly: Afghanistan, the SCO and the West," he said.

    According to Paikan, the role of the United States and NATO in the country was exaggerated, with Gen. Khodaidad noting that their resolve to fight the terrorist threat had grown weaker.

    He went on to say that with the US and NATO presence in Afghanistan decreasing, he believed it was time for a new program to be introduced to tackle another big issue in the country – drugs.

    "Now that the term of US and NATO presence in Afghanistan is coming to an end, the SCO countries should propose a new program to fight Afghan drugs," Khodaidad told Sputnik Radio.

    He added that this year a record-breaking 224,000 hectares of opiates was cultivated in Afghanistan, with drug trafficking becoming an even more acute problem.

    "As you know, the United States and NATO have spent $7.8 billion to fight drug production in Afghanistan, but over the past years, production has not decreased. In fact, it has risen," Khodaidad said.

    He stressed that, since no country could fight Afghanistan's drug issue on its own, it was a good sign that the country's Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah intended to take part in the SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, on December 14 and 15, as this will give him a chance to engage in constructive dialogue with the SCO member states over the issues of narcotics and terrorism.

    Terrorism has long been one of the most significant problems for Afghanistan, with the country suffering from fighting the Taliban extremist group and ongoing terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, the country's potential opium production was estimated by the United Nations to stand at 6,400 tons in 2014.

    The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, founded in 2001, comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The members of the organization cooperate in economics, culture, security and military activities.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Shanghai Cooperation Organization, NATO, terrorism, drug trafficking, Afghanistan
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