As the conflict in Afghanistan continues, opium production and trafficking remains a key source of income for the Taliban and criminal gangs, and a corrupting force for state institutions. Narcotics are closely intertwined with conflict and instability; they challenge governance, development and health.

In this public address, Afghanistan’s Deputy Ministers of Counter-Narcotics and Public Health offered their assessment of how the challenge has evolved in their respective areas, discussing the policy options at their disposal and their effectiveness. They also drew attention to the complexity of coordinating efforts across policy areas and with foreign partners.


H.E. Dr Ahmad Jan Naeem is the Deputy Minister of Public Health of Afghanistan with responsibility for Policy and Planning, the Chair of CCM-Afghanistan and member of Program and Policy Committee of the Board of GAVI. Dr Naeem is a medical doctor with expertise in health systems development in post-conflict settings. During his 27 year career, he has worked for national and international public health institutions including Government bodies and international and national NGOs. He has served as a member of the Steering Committee of ACBAR, an NGO coordinating body.

H. E. Jaweed Qaem is the Deputy Minister of Counter-Narcotics (Policy, Programs and Coordination) of Afghanistan, a position he has held since early 2016. Previously, Mr Qaem performed a number of roles within the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, including Director General for Plan, Policy and Programs.  In the course of his career Mr Qaem had taught at Kabul University and other educational establishments and worked at education-focused NGOs. He has also worked for leading Afghan news agency Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) and the BBC.


This event was chaired by Virginia Comolli, Senior Fellow for Security and Development, IISS. It took place in the Trafalgar Room, Arundel House, 13–15 Arundel Street, Temple Place, London WC2R 3DX*.

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Event details

Discussion Meeting
His Excellency Dr Ahmad Jan Naeem, Deputy Minister of Public Health, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
His Excellency Jaweed Qaem, Deputy Minister of Counter-Narcotics (Policy and Coordination), Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Arundel House, London
Thursday 6 April 2017, 10.30am–12pm BST