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Insecurity in north will spur poppy cultivation: MoCN

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The Ministry of Counternarcotics (MoCN) on Saturday concerned over insecurity in northern provinces and said it will pave the ground for poppy cultivation.

The ministry speaks of starting anti-poppy cultivation campaigns in southern provinces, and says the mission will eliminate at least 20,000 hectares of poppy cultivated land in the areas. Insecurity in north has turned a matter of concern for the MoCN as the provinces are zero according to poppy cultivation but officials say deteriorated security situation will pave the ground for this illicit business.

Quoted by Radio Azadi, the MoCN spokesman, Abdul Qayum Samer, said they fear that tens of hectares of land which are under control of militants in northern provinces will change into poppy-cultivated fields. “Insecurity is a big threat for provinces which are zero as per poppy cultivation. Deteriorated security situation in northern provinces can face our mission with several problems,” he added.

According to him, anti-poppy cultivation campaigns are ongoing in Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul, Farah and Uruzgan provinces. “The provinces produce 95 percent of poppy cultivated all over the country. Insecurity has increased this illegal trend,” he remarked.

Recently the United Nations counternarcotics mission said poppy cultivation and production has increased in Afghanistan and that powerful figures and local commanders are involved in poppy cultivation and drug smuggling.

Critics support the remarks and say a number of district chiefs and local commanders push farmers to cultivate poppy on their lands.

Former minister of counternarcotics, General Khudaidad, said poppy elimination drives have decreased this year and has taken out of government’s control. “The only thing that the government should do is to find a motive for fight against terrorism and poppy cultivation without discrimination,” quoted by Radio Azadi, he said.

The remarks come as the Interior Minister told newsmen last week that there will be no discrimination between drug smugglers and terrorists, and they will be treated the same way.

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