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Poppy cultivation in north quadruples

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AT News Report-KABUL: Opium cultivation in northern Afghanistan has quadrupledin comparison with previous years, said chief executive Abdullah Abdullah.

“Activities like the alternative program, demand reduction and elimination of the poppy lands did not give considerable results in the decrease of poppy cultivation,” Abdullah said Sunday in a meeting held with the aim of attracting and coordinating international assistance in the counter-narcotics campaign.

He called narcotics as the main financial source of the continued war in the country. “If you compare the data with the past years, just as insecurity has increased in the northern provinces, poppy is also cultivated mostly in the areas that are Taliban control and in the unsafe areas. We have evidences that show 40 to 60 per cent of the war in Afghanistan is financially supported by the narcotics. Our efforts should be focused on the counternarcotics program,” he said.

Abdullah criticized regional countries for not being serious in the fight against drug trade, saying that Afghanistan was doing its responsibility in this regard considering its capabilities. “The neighboring countries have to prevent the smuggling of chemical pre-cursors to Afghanistan and drug trafficking to the world markets.”

He said aerial attacks by foreign troops on the poppy lands and opium labs were useful, urging for their continuation.

75 heroin labs have been damaged since the aerial campaign by the foreign forces since late 2017 in the provinces of Helmand, Farah and Balkh, from which, drug traders have suffered hundreds of millions of dollars loss.

Lawmaker, Mohammad Abdo, said that Taliban encourage people to cultivate poppy in the lands in the areas under their control. “Sometimes, government carelessness also causes increase in poppy cultivation,” said Abdo.

“The alternative livelihood program can be useful when the government seriously treats with the poppy cultivators and narcotics traffickers.”