Afghanistan (Hansard, 2 March 2004)
HC Deb 02 March 2004 vol 418 c825W
13. Paul Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the results of efforts to reduce poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. [157425]

14. Mr. Rammell

The UK Government has regular discussions with the Afghan Government, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and international partners about progress on measures to reduce opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. There are no immediate solutions and no single approach to address the variety of factors which influence farmers to grow poppy. The UK is supporting the Afghan Government in implementation of their national drug control strategy with £70 million committed over three years and a dedicated counter narcotics team in place in Kabul. We also co-hosted last month a counter narcotics conference in Kabul to increase Afghan and international awareness and engagement in tackling this problem.

Mr. Best

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his assessment is of the current security situation in Afghanistan. [157023]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

The security situation in Afghanistan remains fragile. The two lethal bomb attacks on Canadian and UK IS AF personnel in January in Kabul followed the killing of four German ISAF personnel in a similar attack in June 2003. Other attacks, such as the murder of a UN employee in November 2003 and the attack near Kandahar on 22 February in which an Australian pilot was killed and a British aid worker wounded, have targeted the international community and NGO operations outside the capital. Security in the south continues to cause concern, especially near the border with Pakistan, where extremist groups are operating. There have been fewer problems in the north, but long-standing tensions persist and these can flare up into violence.