News / Asia

Afghanistan Continues to Be Hub of Poppy Cultivation

Afghanistan Continues to Be Hub of Poppy Cultivationi
X
February 08, 2014 1:18 PM
[[A recent US government report notes that more Afghan land is under poppy cultivation today than it was under the Taliban in 2002. Demand for drugs, especially on the streets of rich countries, and the poor economic and security situation in Afghanistan are often cited by experts as the reasons for the failure of the fight to combat poppy cultivation. VOA’s Kokab Farshori has the details.
Afghanistan Continues to Be Hub of Poppy Cultivation
Kokab Farshori
A recent U.S. government report notes that more Afghan land is under poppy cultivation today than it was under the Taliban in 2002. Demand for drugs, especially on the streets of rich countries, and the poor economic and security situation in Afghanistan are often cited by experts as the reasons for the failure of the fight to combat poppy cultivation. 

Afghanistan produced close to 90 percent of the world’s opium in 2013.  The drug not only affects the local population but also finds its way to more affluent markets in Western countries. 

Speaking on a VOA Afghan Service program, Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister for Counter-Narcotics Mohammad Ibrahim Azhar said his country needed international support to combat the drug problem.

"Drugs in Afghanistan are not only a problem for our country.  They are a problem for the whole world.  Increased demand for drugs in foreign countries is a big challenge for us, and Afghanistan cannot continue its fight against drugs all by itself," he said.

The United States has spent $10 billion since 2002 to combat poppy production and encourage Afghan farmers to plant alternative crops. But a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction indicates that these efforts have not succeeded in curbing poppy cultivation.  Still -- steps such as taking down drug labs, arresting traffickers and capturing money through money laundering efforts were positive signs that should not be ignored, said William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

"Cultivation is one of many elements.  I would suggest to you that the bigger picture is a much more positive picture in terms of counternarcotic efforts in Afghanistan," he said.

Later this year, the United States will withdraw its combat troops from Afghanistan.  Some experts said there were signs that U.S. interest in Afghanistan would diminish.  That would be bad for counter-narcotics efforts in the country, said Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation.

"Just a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Congress slashed its development funding for Afghanistan in half.  That shows that aid programs writ large are going to be cut back, and counter narcotics will fall in that category. So, I think we are going to see less of a focus on counter-narcotics," said Curtis.

But Brownfield said the United States continued to be committed to Afghanistan.

"I know that we will continue to support the programs that are designed to provide alternative development, that are designed to support governor-led eradication, that are designed to improve investigation, or to improve interdiction with specialized units, programs that are designed to do more prosecution and successful prosecution, or programs for education, treatment or rehabilitation," he said.

Experts believe that, to effectively combat the opium cultivation problem, the world will have to come down hard on the demand side -- because as long as there is demand, there will be supply from somewhere.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Marianna Syms from: USA
February 08, 2014 4:55 PM
I really don't understand US... under the Taliban no drugs were flowing from Afghanistan into the bloodstreams of the world. yet, here we came in to "restore order" and we put this clown Karzai - the biggest drug dealer and drug user the world has ever seen... bigger today than the Colombian ass hole (i forgot his name..) and we keep promoting this scumbag - what the hell are we doing...?? why can't we just "green light" Israel on these scumbags - Afghanistan, Iran...???

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid