KABUL: In a remarkable turn of events, Afghanistan’s battle against drugs has yielded unprecedented outcomes, with opium poppy cultivation experiencing a substantial decline. Over the past year, the Islamic Emirate has seized an astonishing 500 tons of drugs, apprehending numerous drug traffickers, including foreign nationals.
Once responsible for more than 80% of the global opium production, Afghanistan’s opium-derived heroin dominated 95% of the European market. However, recent developments indicate a significant shift. David Mansfield, an esteemed authority on Afghanistan’s drug trade, has collaborated with Alcis, a UK-based company specializing in satellite analysis, to shed light on this transformative situation.
Mansfield’s analysis with Alcis indicates that poppy cultivation in Helmand province has dwindled by over 99%. Impeccably detailed satellite imagery demonstrates a reduction from 129,000 hectares to under 1,000 hectares within the span of a year. Furthermore, projections suggest that cultivation will be less than 20% of its 2022 levels, marking an unparalleled scale of reduction.
Recognizing the critical importance of combating the drug epidemic, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has made a resolute commitment to prevent the cultivation, production, smuggling, and sale of drugs. During a recent meeting with local officials from Ghazni and Zabul, the Deputy Minister of Narcotics Control at the Ministry of Interior emphasized the leader Sheikh Hibatullah Akhundzadeh’s decree regarding the destruction of poppy plantations.
Lieutenant General Abdul Haq, the deputy deputy of counter-narcotics in the ministry, urged local officials to ensure the implementation of this decree. He underscored the Islamic Emirate’s unwavering dedication to combating the pernicious scourge of drugs.
Highlighting the progress made, the Deputy Counter Narcotics Department at the Ministry of Interior revealed that approximately 4,000 hectares of poppy cultivation land had already been eradicated across Afghanistan. Haseebullah Ahmadi stated, “The process of destroying poppy fields is currently underway in five provinces. In the central provinces of the country, we have successfully cleared around 4,000 hectares of land previously tainted by drug use.”