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Poppy growers to be prosecuted, says official

Poppy growers to be prosecuted, says official

Oct 29, 2011 - 19:44

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Legal action would be taken against farmers cultivating the outlawed poppy crop, a senior counternarcotics ministry official warned on Saturday.

"Farmers who cultivate poppies will be punished under Counter-Narcotics Law," said Gen. Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, deputy minister of interior for counter-narcotics.

At a joint press conference with Counter-Narcotics Minister Zarar Ahmad Muqbil in Kabul, he said due to the absence of a clear policy and law in the past, farmers would get away with growing poppies.

Having five chapters and 67 articles, the Counter-Narcotics Law was approved in 2009, a spokesman for the Criminal Justice Task Force (CJTF) said. It will go into effect next year.

Under Article 41, a man who cultivates the crop on half an acre of land will be sentenced to three months in jail. However, the jail term is not more than 10 years.

In coordination with other departments concerned, the ministry would ask farmers to stop cultivating poppies, said Criminal Justice Task Force (CJTF) chief, Yar Mohammad Hussain Khel.

The illicit crop cultivated on 3810 acres of land in 593 villages of 18 provinces was eradicated this year, Muqbil said. Although about 65 percent of the crop was destroyed this year, poppy cultivation had increased by seven percent, compared to 2010, he added.

Muqbil said about 123,000 acres of land was cultivated with the crop last year, but the area increased to 131,000 acres in 2011.



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