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Karzai Pledges Crackdown On Commanders, Drugs

5 November 2004 -- Afghan President-elect Hamid Karzai yesterday pledged to use his five-year term to crack down on commanders and the country's drug economy.

Karzai, making his acceptance speech a day after being officially declared winner of the country's first direct presidential election, said there will not be any private militia forces in Afghanistan.

"There will not be any private militias forces in Afghanistan. That's the first demand of the Afghan people. There will definitely, definitely not be any drug thing in Afghanistan. We're going to be dedicated, strong in working against that," Karzai said.

Speaking at a news conference, Karzai also said he will be "dedicated and strong in working" against drug barons.

Earnings from the opium and heroin trade are estimated at around $2.8 billion for 2004, up from around $500 million a year earlier.

The release of a UN report on Afghanistan's narcotics economy due yesterday was delayed until later this month.