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MoCN to revise national drugs’ control strategy

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By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MoCN) on Tuesday said that taking the existing challenges into account, Afghanistan national drugs’ control strategy would be revised within next 100-day.

Briefing news reporters on the 100-day action plan, the minister Salamat Azimi said that MoCN in collaboration with other relevant bodies would work over new draft of the national drugs’ control strategy aimed at making the ministry accountable and to deal with narcotics problem in better manner.

She said that fighting drugs’ trafficking, eradication of poppy, prevention of farmers from growing poppy and raid on illicit drugs production laboratories and hubs would be key goals under the revised strategy. “Considering the outstanding challenges, anti-narcotics law requires amendment. Thus, the ministry will draft a new law within 100 days, in collaboration with concerned organizations,” she added.

The minister pledged to expand the anti-narcotics campaigns to district-level. “In order to make the war against narcotics result-oriented, a new monitoring mechanism will be followed,” she said, adding that alternative livelihood programs would be initiated to encourage the farmers to avoid growing poppy. The MoCN assured of taking steps for betterment of alternative livelihood programs and increased monitoring over “Kandahar food zone” for further progress.

Rehabilitation of drug addicts and establishment of shelters for homeless addicts were also underlined as priorities of the ministry. She said the ministry would hold awareness campaign through public and governmental intuitions to keep away people from drugs. “Countering narcotics is a global challenge. Therefore, the ministry will do its best through all possible means to attract regional and international support for further progress in this aspect,” she said.

According to a report of the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), poppy was harvested on nearly 224,000 hectares in 2014. The figures show a staggering seven percent increase compared to 2013. Despite efforts of the international partners and presence of the US-led allied troops in the restive provinces, poppy remained the most favorite crop of growers in Kandahar, Helmand, Nimroz, Farah, Nangarhar, Zabul, Badakhshan, and Badghis provinces, where the Taliban and other insurgent groups pose serious threats. Sporadic attacks on the military and civilian installations have become a routine job of the Taliban where they have strong presence. Looking at the UNODC’s report published last year, it is clear that situation is very depressing as only 15 provinces are poppy-free. Helmand and Kandahar are top in the list of poppy cultivating provinces, though, British and American troops were stationed there, not far from the poppy fields. As per estimates around $7 billion dollars were spent alone by the United States to support the Afghan government in anti-narcotics campaigns. However, these efforts failed to yield any result due to absence of comprehensive anti-narcotics strategies and maladministration.