Issues Addressed by the Schiller Institute on Afghanistan Receive Widespread Coverage

Former Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Criminal Affairs (1997–2001) Pino Arlacchi has started a media offensive, bringing to the public key issues regarding the necessity of rapid economic development in Afghanistan, the implementation of a drug eradication program and working with the Taliban to accomplish this, and exposing the roots of international terrorism. Professor Arlacchi, after discussing these points fully during two recent Schiller Institute international webinars, on July 31 and Aug. 21, is now being covered in media from Spain and Italy to China and Russia. At the same time, some established media in the United States, such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, have started to acknowledge that the relationship between the Taliban and drugs is conflictual.

In an interview with Sputnik Mundo (Spanish language) on Aug. 27, the former UN official called for a development plan as a priority, following on his call to the Italian government three days earlier in Il Fatto Quotidiano to launch an initiative on drugs. In an interview with Corriere della Sera on Aug. 26, which had a big impact, he recommended extending credit to the Taliban, and for the return of the UN to Afghani stan. He stated: “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 on the international stage. The UN left it in 2003 with the Iraq fiasco. Afghanistan, abandoned by the U.S., could mark a big comeback for the UN.” Arlacchi also reported, with colorful anecdotes, how he had managed to convince the Taliban to ban opium crops, which were successfully substituted almost entirely under his UN mandate .

In another article for Il Fatto Aug. 28, Arlacchi raised questions on the real hand behind the terror attack at the Kabul airport, demonstrating with figures that terrorism has proliferated because of the infinite wars and not the other way around. In the interview with Sputnik Mundo, Arlacchi pointed out to the crucial issue: “The only way out now is an ambitious recovery plan based on the development of Afghanistan’s internal resources.” This was precisely the central issue discussed at the two Schiller Institute webinars he participated in.

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,” he warned. (–1115447773.html)

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