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No discrimination between drug dealers, terrorists: Interior Minister

AT-KABUL: Amidst increase in poppy cultivation, drug addiction and drug dealing, the interior minister, Noor-ul-Haq Ulumi, on Wednesday said he has directed all police chiefs to start serious mission against this illicit business countrywide.

Ulumi told a press conference that those who try to engage Afghans in drug addiction will be treated same like terrorists. “We are serious in our decision. Counternarcotics and anti-drug dealing campaigns are our top priority,” he said.

It comes as drugs are dealt and sold freely in different parts of Kabul. At least 1.6 million Afghans are addicted with different kinds of drugs.

On the same occasion, the deputy counternarcotics department of the Interior Ministry, Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, concerned over the rise in poppy cultivation and drug smuggling in the country.

He said poppy cultivation has increased seven percent in compare with the past year, and that the hike in this illicit business results in increasing of drug addicts in this war-weary country.

“I believe that poppy cultivation and terrorism have equal share in instability of Afghanistan,” he added. “Treating drug dealers and terrorists the same way means that drug dealing is a big threat to the country’s security and stability and is one of the main income sources for terrorists. Terrorists have close ties with mafia groups and these two are supporting each other. Therefore there is no difference among mafia groups, drug dealers and terrorists. They are posing same challenges and threats to this country,” he explained.

He said at least 200 tons of drugs of different types were recovered and 2,664 individuals were held on charges of drug smuggling in 2014, which 10 of them were international drug dealers. “In 345 counternarcotics operations, we succeeded to arrest 21 police officers, six army officials and six foreign nationals on charges of cooperation with drug smugglers,” he mentioned.

Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Nangarhar, Badakhshan, Daikundi and Sar-i-Pul are among provinces which witness highest level of poppy cultivation on annual basis.

A number of experts believe that the government should come up with more concrete and proper measures to curb poppy cultivation and drug dealing in the country.

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