Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, April 19th, 2019

The Present Situation and Prospect of Anti-drug Cooperation between China and Afghanistan

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The Present Situation and Prospect of Anti-drug  Cooperation between China and Afghanistan

In order to effectively avoid the serious harm caused by drugs to the country and the region, China and Afghanistan have continuously strengthened international anti-drug cooperation and made positive progress in the comprehensive prevention, combating and control of drug crimes, but at the same time, there are also some difficulties and problems. From the development trend, on the one hand, the anti-drug cooperation between the two sides will continue to develop in a pragmatic direction; on the other hand, it will form a non-traditional security cooperation centered on drug control.
We know that the proliferation of drugs makes all countries in the world face a common destiny and choice, and drug control is the common cause of all mankind. On this issue, all countries in the world have reached a consensus that promoting anti-drug cooperation is based on an equal treatment, mutual benefit and win-win partnership, and seeks to jointly build, share, and advance the development prospects as a whole.
Counter-narcotics cooperation between China and Afghanistan is the result of mutual needs. From the point of view of China, first, drugs are the common enemy of mankind, and drug crimes have the characteristics of transnational and cross-region. under the background of globalization, the Chinese Government has always attached importance to international cooperation in drug control and adopted the attitude of a responsible big country. We will conscientiously fulfill our international drug control obligations, adhere to the principle of broad participation and shared responsibility, and promote the continuous development of the international drug control cause. Second, with the deepening of the “Belt and Road” construction, the ties between China and the countries along the “Belt and Road” have become increasingly close, and Afghan drug producers have also targeted the infrastructure construction in the region, making it a drug trafficking route. According to an analysis of China’s national drug control data, 15 to 20 percent of heroin in China’s drug market comes from Afghanistan, most of which enter China through this route. In this regard, whether from the responsibility of China’s major powers or the objective fact of reducing the impact of the expansion of Afghan drugs on China, the development of anti-drug cooperation with Afghanistan is one of the important diplomatic measures facing China at present.
From the point of view of Afghanistan, the drug situation in Afghanistan is becoming more and more serious, and the Afghan government hopes that China will provide help and support to its anti-drug cause. War and unemployment are the two main causes of the spread of drugs. The “Golden Crescent” region, centered on Afghanistan, is the “cancer of the world” and the “source of infiltration”. The war has led to the continued deterioration of the economic environment in Afghanistan, and many Afghans who have lost their jobs have had to resort to opium production and other drug crimes in order to earn a living. The sharp increase in opium poppy cultivation and opium production in Afghanistan poses a serious threat to the security, stability and development of the country and other countries. The drug trade has become an important economic source for armed groups such as the Taliban, and the problems of opium production and the drug trade, if left uncontrolled, would fuel the development of terrorism in the country and further affect social stability.
Despite the high-pressure stance of the Afghan counter-narcotics sector, a series of counter-narcotics measures have been developed with the help of the international community. In the past 11 months, 2468 anti-drug operations have been carried out, resulting in the seizure of 231 tons of all kinds of drugs and chemicals, and the arrest of more than 2800 drug trafficking suspects, with little effect. The drug problem has not been effectively curbed with the development of anti-drug work, on the contrary, it has further deteriorated. According to a survey conducted jointly by the United Nations Office on drugs and Crime and the Government of Afghanistan, opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 per cent to 9000 tons in 2017 compared with 2016, the official United Nations website reported in November 2017, set a new record. In addition, opium cultivation increased by 63 per cent compared with 2016 to a record 328000 hectares. Therefore, Afghanistan needs the broad participation and support of the international community, including China.
On December 11, 2018, Min Tianshi, deputy director of the Chinese National Office on drugs and Crime, led a delegation to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he met with General Bakhtiya, vice minister of the Interior of Afghanistan, and Azmi, minister of counter-narcotics of Afghanistan. In accordance with Afghanistan’s development plan and specific needs, China will provide assistance to Afghanistan in the areas of personnel training and equipment assistance to the best of its ability. At the same time, the Albanian side is carrying out anti-drug prevention propaganda, drug treatment and alternative development work and the difficulties it faces, and hopes that China will continue to strengthen its assistance and support to the drug control cause in Afghanistan.
In fact, China and Afghanistan have long cooperated in drug control. In 2006, the competent authorities of China and Afghanistan signed a bilateral anti-drug cooperation agreement, and the two sides maintained good cooperation in the exchange of drug-related information, cooperation in case investigation, personnel training and equipment assistance. The two countries also jointly cracked a number of drug trafficking cases, relying on police colleges and universities, held 10 training courses for Afghan drug control officials, and trained more than 200 drug law enforcement officers for Afghanistan. At present, the drug control departments of the two countries are negotiating a proposal to strengthen drug control cooperation, and there are great prospects for cooperation in the future. China and Argentina have also carried out anti-drug projects and operations under the cooperation mechanism of the United Nations, the SCO and the Paris process.
At present, there are difficulties and challenges in drug control cooperation between China and Afghanistan. The drug situation in Afghanistan is still very serious, the drug source is becoming increasingly poor, and it has become a marginal zone for economic development. The anti-drug cooperation mechanism between China and Afghanistan is still imperfect and perfect, the specialized cooperation institutions have not been established, and the laws, regulations, and agreements are incomplete. The investment is slightly inadequate and the interdiction and crackdown is weak; the regional and global drug situation has changed, and the first generation of drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, are still spreading. The abuse of the second generation of drugs represented by methamphetamine and ketamine and the abuse of the third generation of drugs represented by new psychoactive substances are becoming more and more prominent. The increasing globalization of drug manufacturing and trafficking, the aggravation of the harm of smuggling and trafficking in new psychoactive substances, and the prominent use of information and communication technologies in drug trafficking means are facing challenges. In this regard, the anti-drug cooperation between China and Afghanistan will not only further develop in a pragmatic direction, but also make efforts in specific anti-drug fields, cooperation methods, and paths to ensure human health, security, and common well-being.

Huang Dekai, Scholar of Sichuan Police College; Zhu Like, Scholar of Yunnan University; Jiang Maoxia, Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences

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