News / Asia

Poppy Cultivation Finds Fertile Ground in Baluchistan

Baluchistan, Pakistan
Baluchistan, Pakistan
Ibrahim Nasar
Pakistan’s Baluchistan province is facing a new crisis.  Plagued for years with a separatist insurgency, and a brutal counter-insurgency, rampant kidnappings and home to the Taliban’s Quetta Shura the region is now emerging as a new center for poppy cultivation.   Farmers have turned large areas of the remote province over to opium production and in the process are earning ten times what they did from traditional crops like wheat, barley and vegetables that have been grown in the area for centuries. 
 
Growing lawlessness in areas that border the Afghan provinces of Kandahar, Helmand and Zabul has resulted in drug lords and their affiliated smuggling networks moving their operations across the Afghan border into Baluchistan say experts.   Farmers interviewed recently by VOA in the Loralai district, east of the provincial capital of Quetta reported receiving cash advances and technical help on poppy production from people who had crossed the porous border – an area where there are few checks on the movement of people and goods.  
 
Lisa Curtis a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington says any increase in poppy cultivation in Baluchistan will be a major setback for Pakistan, which she says has up until now largely been able to control poppy cultivation in the region.
 
“Now this could signal it’s going back up.  This is going to be extremely problematic for Pakistan and for the U.S. because the U.S. has spent around six billion dollars in combatting drug production in Afghanistan and the problem is expanding into Pakistan,” she said. 
 
The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs have invested heavily in crop substation efforts in traditional poppy growing areas of Pakistan.  But those are largely in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, known as FATA and not in Baluchistan.   Recently efforts were stepped up to help Pakistan’s Frontier Corps build more than fifty outposts in Baluchistan to combat the problem. 
 
Curtis says the effort is welcome but the U.S. is likely to have a limited impact in the region.  “There has been a history of cooperation between the two countries in combatting drugs, but relations between the two countries have become very tense during the last two years, and particularly Pakistan is sensitive about Baluchistan because of the insurgency in the province,” said Curtis. 
 
Pakistan’s main priority in the area is fighting a decades-long insurgency by Baluch separatists and while Pakistan’s anti-narcotics force claims to have recently destroyed 139 hectares of poppy crops in the region that is only a small fraction of what is likely under cultivation.  
 
As poppy production grows in Baluchistan so do fears of growing instability.  Poppy production in Afghanistan has fueled the Taliban insurgency and there are fears that as the U.S. and its allies end their combat operations in Afghanistan, poppy-fueled instability in Baluchistan could result in the area becoming the new epicenter of extremism, criminality and violence in the region.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: RScott from: Colorado, USA
May 22, 2014 1:54 PM
After 12+ years of military occupation and "reconstruction" spending billions on counter narcotics, Helmand province (Afg.) still produces some 30-40% of the WORLD'S opium. Clearly the US has been ineffective in addressing the issue. How can they be expected to help Pakistan?? And eradication alone is not the answer.


by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
May 21, 2014 5:53 AM
Pakistan cannot control poppy production in Balouchistan, they have little control over day to day transactions. Al Qaida and its subsidiary killing innocent peoples on daily basis and Balouchistan Govt is completely unable to capture human killers. Last Year in Balouchistan more then 2500/= were killed by Hired Terrorist but no human killer capture by Govt. I think they are lossing control over Balouchistan, all market places in Quetta and other places close by 5pm due to law and order situation. If USA will pressurise Pakistan Govt, then they will take some light action but from Balouchistan Govt side I do not think there is any desire to take any action.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid