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Afghan opium growth sees alarming rise: UN says

AT-KABUL: Afghanistan needs to be more serious about fighting drugs after an alarming 63 percent increase in opium cultivation this year, the U.N. drugs agency said on Sunday, warning that Afghanistan is still the “biggest poppy producing country in the world”.

A report of the UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), said that poppy cultivation and drug product have caused the creation of an “illegal economy” in the country. “The current efforts won’t work unless there is a serious fight against drugs,” the report said.

The body has asked the international community to enhance cooperation with the Afghan government in fight with narcotics.

Javed Ahmad Qaem, deputy counternarcotics minister said that the government of Afghanistan is serious in struggle against narcotics, asking the world to be also serious in the program.

“Stability in Afghanistan is directly linked with the fight against narcotics, because it not only makes economic and social problems, negatively affects security as well. The narcotics money is spent to finance terrorism, so assistances to fight narcotics should increase,” Qaem said.

The UN report says that the government of Afghanistan destroyed 750,000 hectares (0.25 per cent) of poppy lands in 2017. The government calls this an achievement.

Despite that, there was a 63 per cent increase in poppy cultivation and 87 per cent in drug productions.

Analysts say that struggle against narcotics should come out of slogans and get serious position.

“Fight with narcotics should be based on realities, not based on deceives. Uprooting the narcotics is possible if the international community is serious in this regard. 70 per cent of the war is related to the drug product and trade in Afghanistan. Problems will increase if we less care struggle against drugs,” said Zalmai Wardak, a military analyst.

He said that the joint Afghan and foreign operations affective to destroy heroin labs, emphasizing that this would weaken Taliban and other armed groups.

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