Afghanistan officers visiting Singapore

More than a dozen law enforcement officers from Afghanistan, the world's biggest opium producer, are in Singapore to learn the strategies used by the strict city-state to maintain low drug abuse rates.

Singapore has some of the world's harshest, end most thoroughly enforced, rug laws, including a mandatory death penalty by hanging for anyone caught with more than 15 grams (0.53 ounce) of heroin or more than 500 grams (17.64 ounces) of marijuana.

Over two weeks, 15 Afghan officers will be trained in search procedures, profiling techniques and financial investigation methods, among other skills, a statement from the Central Narcotics Bureau said late Wednesday.

Singapore's leaders say the country's tough laws have helped keep this wealthy city-state of 4.3 million people free of the drug scourge plaguing some of its Southeast Asian neighbors.

The training program, which started Wednesday and ends June 2, underscores Singapore's belief in international cooperation against the global drug trade, a government official said.

"While countries may have different approaches towards tackling their domestic drug problems, the global nature of the drug scourge makes it critical for countries to share experiences and learn from one another," said Ho Peng Kee, junior minister of law and home affairs.

Afghanistan is the world's biggest producer of opium, the raw material of heroin. Last year, more than 4,500 tons of opium were harvested, about 90 percent of the global supply.

The main drug threat Singapore has faced in recent years is the trafficking and abuse of synthetic drugs such as "Ecstasy."

Singaporean narcotics officers will also demonstrate drug detection procedures and allow the program's participants, to observe anti-drug operations, the statement said, reports the AP.

I.L.