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VOA Hosts Anti-Narcotics Seminar in Kabul

Ninety percent of the world's opium-a key ingredient for heroin-is produced there

Washington, D.C., October 7, 2009 – The Voice of America is hosting a two-day seminar on the narcotics trafficking in Afghanistan, where 90 percent of the world’s opium – a key ingredient for heroin - is produced.

"This series of workshops is designed to educate VOA journalists working in Afghanistan to fully understand the impact of narcotics addiction, treatment, and how illicit poppy cultivation is funding the Taliban insurgency", says Beth Mendelson, Chief of VOA's Afghan Service."It's also designed to explain new and emerging U.S. polices to VOA journalists who are gearing up to do special television and radio series on Afghanistan's narcotics problem."

The seminar brings together top Afghan officials, U.S. representatives and experts on the drug trade, including Ahmad Beg Qaderi, General Prosecutor from Afghanistan’s Anti-Drug Force, General Daoud Daoud, Deputy Interior Minister of Counter Narcotics, Mark Calhoun from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Drew Quinn from the U.S. Embassy’s Narcotics Affairs Section.

Along with two days of briefings, VOA journalists will also visit the Nejat Center in Kabul, where treatment programs are available for Afghans suffering from drug addiction and HIV and AIDS. Over the next few weeks, the Afghan service will begin airing special radio and television segments on Afghanistan’s narcotics epidemic.

The Voice of America airs 12 hours of radio programming in Dari, Pashto and Special English daily in Afghanistan. The Afghan service also broadcasts two 30 minute television newscasts six days a week in Dari and Pashto, reaching Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. The service is also available on the Internet; in Dari at and in Pashto at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages. VOA is the leading U.S. international broadcaster.

For more information, please call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail