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Children are used in drugs smuggling, selling: Officials

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Millions of dollars were spent to overcome poppy cultivation and drugs trafficking in the country, but the struggles brought Afghanistan to the point that it was placed among highest poppy cultivators and drugs producers in the world. Media reports said the other day that thousands of children are used in drugs smuggling and selling packets of the heroin, hashish and other drugs in parts of the capital city, Kabul.

Radio Azadi reports that Hassan, a nine-year-old boy who lives in western parts of the city, works in selling and distributing drugs to addicts for the past three months. According to the source, Hassan’s brother has also joined him in this illicit business.

Hassan says that his father has died and there is no one at home to afford their daily life thus he is obliged to do this illegal business. The source added that Hassan might have no idea about the legality or illegality of the business; the most important thing for him is to gain some money for financing his vulnerable family.

“This is my brother. We work together in selling heroin to buy a slice of bread. Shopkeeper tells us to distribute drugs to drug addicts. I know this is a bad work. But what should I do?” said Hassan.

He also said that one of his neighbors introduced him to Ustad, the man that reportedly sells drugs. He added that Ustad gives him around Afs200 on daily basis.

According to the source, Bagh-e-Ali Mardan area of Kabul which is located behind Eidgah Mosque is the main hub of selling of heroin and hashish in the city.

Hassan is not the only boy that is involved in this illegal business. One can find tens of such children and teenagers who are busy in selling drugs in Bagh-e-Ali Mardan area. It is said the children are used in this illegal business aimed at staying safe from police.

The Afghanistan Human Rights Commission (AHRC) confirmed that a number of children are used for selling heroin and hashish in parts of Kabul and a number of other provinces. The AHRC officials urged security agencies to prevent drugs dealing inside the city and not let drugs dealers to use and involve children in their illicit business.

Radio Azadi quoted the AHRC zonal chief, Shasullah Ahmadzai, as saying that drugs smugglers not only use children in drugs smuggling but also in a number of cases they sexually abuse these children. “No doubt that drug dealers become drug addicts after working for a while in this illegal business. Children that are used in drugs dealing become drug addict soon after being involved in this business,” he said.

He added that according to their information nearly 300,000 have headed towards the illegal business of drugs dealing in Afghanistan, which is a matter serious concern for the organization.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs said that there is no document that prove this claim, but there are a few number of vulnerable children which are used by drug smugglers to carry on their illegal business.

Radio Azadi also quoted the spokesman for Labor and Social Affairs Ministry, Ali Iftikhari, as saying that they have different plans on hand to help and support children but this is the responsibility of security agencies to prevent using children in drugs dealing in Kabul or any other province. “This issue is not only related to children, but there are different other issues that are related to the illegal business, and it is the security agencies’ duty to find the root cause and help the children that are the victims of this illegal act. The children are not interested to join this illegal business but they are compelled by a number of mafia groups,” the spokesman said.

Security officials in Kabul said that a number of children that were selling drugs in the city were arrested and sent to juvenile training schools.

Kabul police chief, Abdul Rahman Rahimi, said that seven drug smugglers and a number of children whom they used in this regard were arrested in Bagh-e-Ali Mardan area, and they were trying to beef up their struggles in this regard. “We arrest a number of children which soon will be sent to juvenile training schools. They are teenagers. We arrest them but we provide them training in training centers of the ministry,” he added.

He committed that they would clear all areas of drug smugglers.

A number of critics believe that security officials should pay all out efforts to not only overcome and prevent drugs smuggling but also they should prevent using of children in this illicit business.

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