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Karzai (left) with Rakhmonov in Dushanbe today (RFE/RL)
DUSHANBE, July 27, 2006 (RFE/RL) - The presidents of Afghanistan and Tajikistan today called on the global community to help suppress illicit drug production.
Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai and Tajikistan's Imomali Rakhmonov said they were seriously concerned by a growing flow of drugs from the region.
Speaking in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, they urged the world to help introduce alternative agricultural crops that poor Afghan farmers could grow instead of opium. In a joint statement, they also called for the creation of a regional antidrugs-smuggling center.
The two presidents also signed an agreement that aims at securing the return of Tajik and Afghan prisoners in their respective home countries.
An estimated 150 Afghan nationals are serving prison terms in Tajikistan, most of them on drugs-trafficking charges. The number of Tajik nationals held in Afghan custody is unclear.
(with additional material from Avesta, Reuters)