Afghanistan and six neighbouring countries, stressing the need for regional cooperation, on Tuesday discussed the negative effects of narcotics on public health and security.
The call came at a two-day meeting that began in Kabul today. Representatives of Afghanistan, China, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Pakistan are attending the event.
The participants called narcotics an international problem, stressing a comprehensive strategy to counter the threat.
In a joint declaration, the seven countries described the production and smuggling of narcotics a big threat. They agreed on regional cooperation in combating the menace.
Counternarcotics Minister Din Mohammad Rashidi called for cooperation for greater international in addressing the twin scourge of drugs and the insurgency.
Afghanistan and the global fraternity had been working hard to counter curb the illicit drug commerce in the country, but the problem continued to exist due to insecurity, he said.
According to a report from the Ministry of Counternarcotics and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), poppy cultivation in Afghanistan rose by a record 36 percent in 2013.
In 2012, the area under poppy cultivation increased to a record 209,000 hectares from 154,000 hectares the 2011 -- higher than the peak of 193,000 hectares reached in 2007.
The ministry said the number of drug addicts in Afghanistan had reached more than one million. It added rehabilitation services had also increased from one to six percent.
The production of narcotics could be eliminated by decreasing demand, improving interdiction measures in border areas and dealing seriously with traffickers, Rashidi suggested.
Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Reza Bahrami said it was impossible for a single nation to combat narcotics. He explained it was the responsibility of all countries to cooperate in addressing the challenge.
An effective plan should be chalked out at regional and international levels to counter narcotics, otherwise efforts made in this regard would be useless, he concluded.