Minister Says Afghanistan Not Ready For Legal Opium
25 September 2005 -- The Afghan government's counternarcotics minister, Habibullah Qaderi, says Afghanistan is not ready to adopt a proposal to use its illicit opium crop to make legal painkillers.
Qaderi said the plan would only "confuse" Afghans because the authorities are making such strenuous efforts to eradicate illegal opium growing. He said to turn around now and offer licenses for legal growing would not be a good idea.
The Senlis Council, a Paris-based nongovernmental organization, has suggested licensed Afghan opium production could be used to produce painkilling preparations like morphine and codeine. Senlis is to a launch a feasibility study on the proposal in Kabul tomorrow.