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Eradication poppy needs world’s help: Azami

AT News Report-KABUL: Insecurity has been the core reason behind increase in poppy cultivation, but it could be eradicated with continued international supports, official said on Tuesday.

Counternarcotics Minister, Salamat Azami told a conference titled “Cooperation with Donor Organizations’ that security deterioration, lawlessness and reduce in foreign aid were reason behind increase in poppy cultivation in the country.

Pajhwok Afghan News in 2016 reported a 10 percent increase in poppy cultivation and 43 percent hike in drug production over 2015. While poppy eradication decreased by 91 percent.

According to the report, poppy cultivation increased by 25 times between 2001 and 2016, when 201,000 hectares of land was cultivated with the plant compared to 183,000 hectares in 2015.

Expressing concerns over increasing of poppy cultivation, Azami said, the increase in drugs was fueling instability and posing a great challenge to economic and political development.

“Drug smugglers finance terrorist groups with money they earn from their illegal business, we are witness to deadly attacks carried out by these terrorists in our country and the region,” she said.

She added that poppy cultivation increased after international community leveled down support to Afghanistan. However, she did not go further to give more details about the international community’s support.

Reports suggest the international community has pumped billions of dollars in the counternarcotics effort in Afghanistan during the past 14 years.

An exact amount of the foreign aid is not known, but the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says the US alone has donated around 8.5 billion US dollars to the war on Afghan drugs.

Moreover, Azami called on donor countries to continue their support with Afghanistan in fight against poppy.

Deputy Counternarcotics Minister, Javid Ahmad Qaim, said that raise in poppy cultivation last year and likely this year has forced them to organize a meeting for attracting foreign aid aimed at eradicating the menace.

He added that most of poppy was cultivated in Helmand, Badghis, Badakhshan and Nangarhar provinces. He termed lack of resource, and fewer foreign supports in this regard as a sole reason behind increase.

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