Central Asia can do more to boost Afghanistan’s recovery, its neighbours tell UN

25 September 2006 – The Foreign Ministers of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan called for stepped-up international efforts to help Afghanistan establish peace and stability, defeat the drug trade and make economic progress during their addresses to the United Nations General Assembly today.

Tajikistan’s Talban Makarov told the Assembly’s annual debate that Afghanistan’s neighbors in Central Asia should play a greater role in its post-conflict reconstruction, especially in trying to combat the country’s narcotics problem.

Mr. Makarov urged the establishment of “an up-to-date, efficient and capable Afghan border service” to police the boundary with Tajikistan and to implement joint measures with Tajik border authorities against drug traffickers.

“We are convinced that these measures could serve as a basis for implementing the initiative of establishing the first section of the security belt around Afghanistan,” he said.

In his address to the Assembly, Vladimir Noor of Uzbekistan also identified drug production as one of the most dangerous problems in Afghanistan, threatening the security of the wider region.

Mr. Noor said “real progress in implementing the concrete project funded by the international community” needs to be made so that Afghans can see they are making social, economic and humanitarian progress.

Both Mr. Noor and Mr. Makarov also stressed the threat posed by terrorism, calling for regional organizations to play an enhanced role in dealing with the scourge.