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Scourge of opium; Poppy cultivated thrice a year: Senate

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AT-KABUL: Instability and insecurity have triggered a substantial surge in poppy cultivation in tumultuous areas as senators claim that farmers cultivate opium thrice a year in certain areas.

Members of the Senate called insecurity, unemployment, lack of rule of law and alternative livelihood as the incentives behind the increase in poppy cultivation.

“We witnessed an increase in the poppy cultivation last year,” senator, Hashem Alokozai said Wednesday. “Poppy was cultivated only in spring in Helmand and other provinces in the past, but now farmers cultivate it three times in a year particularly in the Taliban-held areas.”

He added that foreigners had built drug factories in the unsafe areas and gained its profits along with traffickers. He did not elaborate about the nationality of the foreigners.

Ministry of counternarcotics had said last week that 9,000 tons of drugs were produced in the current Afghan year, while the ceiling reached to 4,000 tons in the past years.

Ministry of interior says of intensifying efforts in preventing poppy cultivation and drug smuggling.

“Police launched 2,468 operations against drug dealers during the ongoing year in which 2,848 traffickers drug lords were arrested,” said Khalil Bakhtyar, deputy interior minister.

He added that 69 personnel of the security forces, six Pakistani and seven Iranian nationals were among the arrested people.