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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid