8,000 acres of poppy eradicated in Helmand
Security forces were on course to achieve their target of destroying 2,000 hectares of poppy, the provincial police chief said, hoping they would overcome resistance from militants.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Col Abdul Nabi Ilham said the ongoing anti-poppy campaign that was launched in the province on Feb. 23 would last two months.
Before the drive formally got under way, security personnel and tribal elders tried to persuade growers to switch to cash crops. He said several Taliban fighters and security officials had suffered casualties during the campaign.
“The real reason for clashes is that the insurgents are guarding poppy fields; they have planted landmines in farmland and attack security personnel,” the police chief said.
Less land was cultivated with the illegal crop, especially in green areas, compared with the last year, said Director of Counternarcotics Syed Ahmad Wror.
In 2011, more than 70,000 hectares of land was cultivated with poppy, an area that dropped to 50,000 hectares this year, he explained.
A resident of the Dakhto area of Nad Ali district, Ali Ahmad, said: “I’m not afraid government eradicating ny crop because the area is under Taliban’s control.”
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