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Clerics in Nangarhar issue verdict against drugs

KABUL: Religious scholars in Nangarhar at a gathering on Saturday issued a verdict against cultivation of opium and use of drugs, declaring them as forbidden in Islam.

They asserted that poppy cultivation has seen a drastic spike in Nangarhar with a suitable weather for any type of plants. They stressed that farmers should cultivate legal and useful plants instead of opium.

All the scholars declare all types of drugs to be forbidden. All drugs are forbidden in Islamic, and all religious scholars are issuing this fetwa, said Provincial Director of Hajj and Religious Affairs, Mohammad Daud Mujahid.

Opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 percent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons in 2017 compared with 2016 levels.Ministry of Counter Narcotics and UN Office on Drugs and Crime in a report on November 2017 said that the area under poppy cultivation also increased to a record 328,000 hectares in 2017, up 63 percent compared with 201,000 hectares in 2016, the report said.

The scholars called on farmers to stop poppy cultivation and cultivate wheat and other legal crops so that it addresses the country needs. They said all acts connecting with poppy cultivation including drugs smuggling and its processing are against the teachings of Islam.

Nangarhar officials said that based on their information, poppy is being cultivated in remote areas in the province.

Head of Counter Narcotics Department of Nangarhar Mohammad Idrees Sapai said that Shinwari and Khogyani districts are the areas where government has less control and we are concerned about these areas when it comes to poppy cultivation. “We have lunched alternative livelihood programs in eight districts of Nangarhar to tackle poppy cultivation,” he said.

Tamim Arif Mohmand, deputy governor of Nangarhar, meanwhile said that the authority will act legally against any government official or individual who will attempt poppy cultivation in any part of the province.

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