A two day interaction between anti-narcotics authorities of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan commenced at Islamabad on Tuesday

ISLAMABAD: A two day interaction between the counter-narcotics authorities of the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan commenced at the Islamabad Marriott Hotel on Tuesday.

The tripartite event, entitled the ‘13th Triangular Initiative Senior Officials Meeting’, being hosted by the Ministry of Narcotics Control, Government of Pakistan, brought together national counterparts to discuss ways and means for effectively combating the trafficking of Afghan opiates.

Chair of the meeting Mr. Arif Nawaz Khan, Secretary Ministry of Narcotics Control, Government of Pakistan, stated that under his Chairmanship ‘the regional counterparts will highlight respective progress under the Triangular Initiative.

This also includes enhancement of the regional response through information-sharing; planning and conducting drug-interdiction operations; and establishment of Border Liaison Offices (BLOs).’

Mr. Cesar Guedes, UNODC Representative in Pakistan noted in his opening remarks, ‘We believe that strengthening of regional partnership against the massive flow of illicit drugs in the region, within the framework of this strategic collaborative process, can serve as a conduit for saving lives and improving their quality’.

Director General Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) Major General Muhammad Arif Malik is heading Pakistan’s delegation in the TI-SOM, whereas the Afghanistan and Iran delegations are led by their respective Director Generals.

The Representative UNODC Country Office Iran, and Head UNODC Regional Programme Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries, are amongst the prominent delegates.

Since its inception in 2007, the UNODC-facilitated Triangular Initiative forum has served as a cornerstone of the regional approach to drug control. It is supported by the Paris Pact Initiative and its Rainbow Strategy for Afghanistan, which encompasses a range of programmes designed to reduce the poppy cultivation, trafficking, and consumption of drugs.

UNODC provides technical support to the forum, and builds the capacity of regional counterparts in counter-narcotics.

The three countries have been combatting this scourge over a long period and at great cost. Many law enforcement officials, as well as ordinary citizens, have sacrificed their lives in the struggle against drug trafficking.

The senior officials meeting will help the three sides in finding solutions to their common challenges by adhering to a comprehensive and balanced approach including brainstorming sessions, to improve regional cooperation in this vital sector as per the principle of common and shared responsibility.

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