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Arlacchi Tells Media, Give the Taliban Credit, Afghanistan Needs Development

Aug. 27 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Pino Arlacchi, who was director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 1997-2001, gave an interview to Italy’s newspaper of record, Corriere della Sera on Aug. 26, which is having a major impact. Arlacchi recalls his experience negotiating with the Taliban in 2000 to end Afghanistan’s opium poppy growing, proving that the Taliban are willing to compromise, and urges for the UN to resume an anti-drug initiative. “If we give them credit, we can negotiate everything. If instead, we’re overwhelmed by the emotion of the images we see on TV, and we isolate them, it will be a self-fulfilling disaster. Our behavior and theirs in these first months will be decisive.”

He states, “If I were Europe, I would put drugs at the center of the agenda. We have 1.5 million drug addicts and it is worthwhile for us to stop Afghan heroin. If I were the UN, I would go back to the international scene. The UN left it in 2003 with the Iraq fiasco. Afghanistan, abandoned by the U.S., could mark a big comeback for the UN.”

On Aug. 27, the Spanish-language Sputnik Mundo referred to Pino Arlacchi as one of the most renowned experts in the fight against the mafia and drug trafficking. He told the news agency in an interview:

“After suffering a complete failure, the West has lost a voice and vote in Afghanistan. The public seem not to have noticed yet, and here they are continuing to talk as if they had not just suffered a defeat in Afghanistan, but the ball is already on the far side of the field. Everything will now depend on what China and Russia decide in the first place, as well as Pakistan, Iran, India and other Asian nations.”

The Italian politician and sociologist on the faculty of University of Sassari pointed out that “the only way out now is an ambitious recovery plan based on the development of Afghanistan’s domestic resources.”

Such a program, in his view, does not have to be expensive. “It is enough to maintain international assistance at the current level, replacing military assistance with development aid. If we do not do it immediately, there is a danger that the Taliban … will not last long in power and the country will once again plunge into total chaos, with disastrous consequences,” warned Arlacchi.

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