Afghanistan saw a dramatic increase in poppy cultivation this year, a sharp rise owing to favorable weather, growing insecurity and declining international support for counter-narcotics operations, Ministry of Counter Narcotics said.
According to statistics of Ministry of Counter Narcotics, poppy cultivated lands reached to 183 thousand acres in 2015 which the figure increased to 201 thousand acres of land in 2016.
Minister of counter narcotics, Salamat Azimi said, “government ministries have coordination, but we see in increase in poppy cultivation compared to the last year.”
Ministry of Interior says measures in fight against narcotics are not enough.
Deputy of MoI counter narcotics unit, Baz Muhammad Ahmadi said, “the narcotic threats are not less than terrorist threats and corruption. But unfortunately this issue has been marginalized in the recent years.”
The southern restive province of Helmand remained the country’s top poppy cultivating province, followed by Badghis, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Nangarhar and Farah – all hotbeds of insurgent activity.
International donors have splurged billions of dollars on counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan over the past decade, including efforts encouraging farmers to switch to other cash crops such as saffron. But those efforts have shown little results.
Addiction levels have also risen sharply — from almost nothing under the 1996-2001 Taliban regime — giving rise to a new generation of addicts since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.