Baghlan loses poppy-free province status
PUL-I-KHUMRI (PAN): More than 250 acres of land has been cultivated with poppy crop this year in northern Baghlan province, which was declared a poppy-free zone two years ago, officials said on Tuesday.
"The illicit plant has been grown in Deh Salah and Pul Hesar districts, where security forces launched an eradication campaign two days ago," deputy police chief, Col. Syed Zamanuddin Hussaini, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
A counternarcotics ministry representative in Baghlan, Najibullah Ahmadi, said if residents cooperated with security forces in destroying the crop, the ministry would increase its assistance to the province.
“We grow poppies due to a lack of irrigation water in our area. Other crops including wheat, potatoes need sufficient water,” said a 30-year old resident of Pul Hisar district, Nazar Ahmad.
He added they could switch to food crops only if the government launched irrigation schemes in their area.
“If the authorities stick to their promises, we won't grow poppies," said another resident of Deh Salah district, Zakir.
Governor Abdul Majeed confirmed poppy cultivation in parts of the province, but said they were trying to eradicate the crop.
Two years ago, the provinces was declared a poppy- free zone, leading the counter-narcotics ministry to provide nearly $2 million for the implementation of agricultural and reconstruction projects.
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