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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid