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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Presidents Vow to Curb Drug Trade

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- The presidents of Tajikistan and Afghanistan pledged Thursday to strengthen the fight against illegal drugs but said that more international funding was necessary to encourage the Afghan population to stop production and trafficking.

In a joint statement, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov and Afghan President Hamid Karzai voiced concern about increasing drug production in Afghanistan and urged the international community to provide more assistance to Afghan farmers to encourage them to abandon opium poppy cultivation.

Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world's opium and heroin supply, and much of it moves across the 1,400-kilometer border to Tajikistan and then to Russia and further into Europe.

Despite the international community pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into anti-drug campaigns in Afghanistan, opium production is increasing across the country, particularly in Taliban hotbeds in the south, where the militant group is believed to benefit from income generated from the illicit trade.

Karzai said his government would continue working with the international community to combat the "international mafia" dealing in drugs but warned that funding was still short of the country's needs.