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Poppy eradication drive concludes in Herat

Poppy eradication drive concludes in Herat

May 19, 2011 - 18:01

HERAT CITY (PANinfo-icon): Poppy crops grown over about 612.5 acres of land were eradicated during a campaign that concluded on Thursday in western Herat province, officials said.

The 26-day poppy eradication campaign was launched by counter narcotics police backed by Army personnel in Shindand, Robat-i-Sangi and Gulran district of the province, provincial counternarcotics department head, Ghulam Jilani Daqiq, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Up to 612.5 acres of land was cleared of poppies during the drive, which could not be extended to remote parts of the province, he said.

Police spokesman, Col. Noor Khan Nikzad, said all farms, excluding those in remote parts, were cleared of the illicit crop. The counternarcotics police came under attacks at some location from insurgents during the campaign, he said, adding two roadside bombs were defused and three people were detained in connection with the bombs during the drive.

Elsewhere, a poppy eradication campaign, involving police and intelligence officials, was launched in cooperation with tribal elders in central Diakundi province on Wednesday, an official said.

Khadir district chief, Abdul Qadar, said that it has been decided not to allow farmers to grow the illicit crop in their fields. He said committees had been formed in each districts to convince farmers to switch to food crops instead of poppy. “Tribal elders and religious scholars are in talks with farmers to convince them against poppy crops,” he said.

The official said nearly 250 acres of land had been cultivated with the crop in the district and that the crop would be destroyed during the newly launched campaign.

A farmer, Mohammad Yasin, 34, said he grew the crop on his five acres of land, calling the plant the solo source of his income.  “The government should provide us improved quality wheat seed and chemical fertilizer so we can grow food crops," he said.


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