Poppy eradication drive concludes in Kandahar
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): The outlawed poppy crop over 3,250 acres of land was destroyed during a 75-day eradication campaign in southern Kandahar province, the governor said on Thursday.
The drive that began in Zherai district was later expanded to nine other districts of the province, Toryalai Wesa told a gathering in Kandahar City.
Provincial counternarcotics chief Gul Mohammad Shukran was also present at the gathering held at the provincial information centre.
Poppies were destroyed in Zherai, Panjwai, Maiwand, Arghandab, Daman, Shah Walikot, Dand and Takhta Pul, said the governor, who hailed the drive as a success.
Wesa added Taliban had been expelled from several areas that had been brought under government's control over last few months. The campaign was delayed in some areas due to technical problems and resistance from farmers.
"The security personnel involved in the campaign were attacked at 10 locations. They came under bomb attack twice, leaving six policemen dead and as many injured," he recalled.
The governor assailed the irrigation, rural development and some other ministries for not providing sufficient farm inputs to the growers who had switched to growing food crops.
Wesa urged the ministries concerned to launch projects, including bridges, roads, irrigation channels, etc. to enable farmers to have access to the market for their products. He linked poppy cultivation in the province to poor economic conditions of growers.
Speaking on the occasion, the counternarcotics chief called the campaign a success. There were problems but cooperation from provincial and district councils as well as residents enabled police to achieve their objective.
Shukransaid poppy cultivation dropped during 2011, compared to previous years and in some parts there was no need to conduct the eradication drive.
He criticised the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for not properly navigating land through the Global Positioning System (GPS).
He said they lacked resources to treat drug addicts and the two existing rehabilitation centres were not enough to deal with a large number of addicts.
Shukransaid Afghans who had recently returned from Iran and Pakistan were addicted to drugs. He added the number of hashish smokers was on the increase in Kandahar.
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