Press Availability
Marc Grossman
Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Palace of Nations
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
May 20, 2011


Date: 05/20/2011 Description: U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman - State Dept ImageSpecial Representative Grossman: Please first of all let me say good evening to all of you and thank you for coming. I had the honor to call this evening on the president. I think we had an excellent discussion about Afghanistan and the region. I first wanted to come and thank the President for all of the support that he and Tajikistan and the people of Tajikistan have given to the international effort in Afghanistan. Second, I wanted to report to the president on the activities I have undertaken to create and to try to follow up on Secretary Clinton's speech on February 18 to promote an Afghan-led reconciliation process to bring peace to Afghanistan. And third I wanted to seek the president's advice as we go forward with this effort to promote Afghan-led reconciliation. He was very generous with his time; I thank him for his hospitality and I look forward to your questions.

Q: Don't you think that bin Laden's defeat will lead to the activation of terrorist actions both in Afghanistan and the region?

Special Representative Grossman: Thank you for your question. No, I do not. I believe that the death of Osama bin Laden is a message to terrorists everywhere that they have been defeated. And although there is still work to do to defeat terrorism, this is our chance, with the defeat of Osama bin Laden, to put an end to al Qaida. And as the President said to me just a few minutes ago, this is the time to step up efforts to counter terrorism. So, no, I do not think it will lead to more terrorism; I think it will lead to less, and the fact that bin Laden is dead is a very positive thing for the world and brings us closer to the end of al Qaida.

Q: What do you think about the role of Tajikistan in implementing United States efforts in Afghanistan?

Date: 05/20/2011 Description: U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman - State Dept ImageSpecial Representative Grossman: First of all, I had the opportunity to thank the President for the role that Tajikistan plays in supporting the international effort in Afghanistan. This isn't just about the United States. There are many countries supporting a prosperous and successful and peaceful future for Afghanistan. And we thank the people of Tajikistan and the Government of Tajikistan for the efforts that they are making to support Afghan prosperity and peace. The support that Tajikistan gives to United States forces by allowing transit of goods through Tajikistan is also extremely important. And we look forward to future cooperation. I think we'll take one more.

Q: You know that the threat of drug trafficking is increasing every year, and though the United States and the coalition are taking great efforts to curb this threat, there are no visible results, though the United States itself admitted that drug trafficking is one of the sources of financing terrorism. Don't you think that the United States and the coalition should give a mandate to find and eliminate all the plantations of drugs in Afghanistan?

Special Representative Grossman: Thank you for your question. You are right that the question of drug trafficking is extremely important, not just in Afghanistan, but around the world. You are also right that it finances terrorists. And it finances organized crime. And it finances corruption. And so that's why countries like Tajikistan and the United States need to work so closely together to defeat narcotics trafficking. And so we are very proud of the work that our Drug Enforcement Administration does with the Drug Control Agency here in Tajikistan. And together they are focused on increasDate: 05/20/2011 Description: U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman - State Dept Imageing the capacity of Afghanistan to control this problem. This is a very high priority for the international effort in Afghanistan. And I believe it is true to say first of all that today there are less hectares under cultivation with poppy than there have been in the past. And that the eradication program led by governors in Afghanistan, the Governors’ Eradication Program, is now eradicating many more hectares than it has in the past. This [drugs]is a big problem. This is something that we are working on together. But as you say there is more work to do. Thank you all very much; thank you for your time.

[This is a mobile copy of U.S. - Tajikistan Relations]