Poppy cultivation on the increase: official
KABUL (PAN): A senior Counternarcotics Department official at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday said poppy cultivation was on the increase in Afghanistan, calling for more police personnel to intensify the war on drugs.
Lt. Gen, Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, the department’s deputy head, was speaking to reporters after torching of 20 tonnes of opium, which had been seized by counternarcotics police.
The drugs were set alight in Deh Sabz district northeast of Kabul City. Gen. Ahmadi said the current strength of police was inadequate to combat poppy cultivations.
“Opium growing is a serious threat to coming generation. A survey shows the number of people addicted to drugs has increased to 1.6 million,” he said.
“The transfer of security responsibility to Afghan forces, the decreasing foreign support and the lack of Afghan National Army’s support are to be blamed for the increase in poppy cultivation,” he said.
Two years ago, the official said, there had been only 14 provinces producing poppy crops, but the number had unfortunately risen to 17 provinces.
In 2012, Afghanistan reportedly produced 74 percents of the world’s opium produce.
Gen. Ahamdi linked the surge in poppy growth to the dissolution of a Special Unit responsible for eradicating the illicit plant. The job was later handed over to provincial governors, he recalled.
He urged the Ministry of Interior Affairs to reactivate the previous Special Unite and increase the number of police and improve their capacity to effectively fight the menace.
Ahamdi said his department had established a number of check posts in Kabul, saying the drive to take drug addicts to rehabilitation centres for treatment would be launched soon.
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