Anti-drug strategy a failure: Mubarez
KABUL (Pajhwok): Acting Counter-narcotics Minister Din Mohammad Mubarez on Tuesday acknowledged the government’s strategy was a failure and so far no proper effort had been made in this regard.
Testifying before the Meshrano Jirga, or upper house of parliament, the acting minister said his ministry had chalked out a new strategy to the illicit combat drug trade. Drugs worth $80 billion are smuggled from Afghanistan annually.
Acting Public Health Minister Dr. Suraya Dalil was also summoned to brief lawmakers about the growing number of drug addicts and their rehabilitation.
Mubarez said the Afghan government and the international community should have fought narcotics similar to the war against terrorism over the past 13 years.
He said the people of Afghanistan had long been the victim of the twin menace of terrorism and narcotics, but the government and the international community had failed to counter narcotics and the strategy in this regard had been a failure.
He said in no country, poppy crops were destroyed by security forces using tractors like in Afghanistan, but the plants were being destroyed with spray of chemicals from the air.
He said up to 150 security men were lost to the anti-poppy campaign each year, but growth of the illicit plant and drug smuggling continued to surge.
The acting minister said the Afghan government had been lacking political will to do away with narcotics and thus could not even prevent poppy cultivation in areas under its control.
Mubarez continued the anti-poppy campaign was initiated in Afghanistan 13 years ago and the crop set new record in 2013, when 209,000 hectors of land was brought under cultivation, which made 90 percent of the world’s production.
He said drugs worth $80 billion was smuggled from Afghanistan each year and only $1 billion of the staggering amount was received by local growers and the rest ended up in hands of smugglers.
Mubarez said big drug smugglers kept fighting against the government with support from the Taliban in order to create lawlessness and pave the ground for poppy cultivation in more areas.
He said the Ministry of Counternarcotics had prepared a new strategy, which would be soon shared with President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah.
Some senators said the number of drug addicts was increasing with the passage of time and they were not property treated. Currently, 1.6 million individuals are addicted to drugs in the country.
Acting public health minister Suraya Dalil said rehabilitation centre for drug addicts were existed in all provinces of the country.
She said there were 27 rehabilitation centres in Kabul, 11 in Heart, eight in Nangarhar, nine in Balkh, eight in Badakhshan, four in Farah and one or two each in the remaining provinces.
She said treatment of drug addicts was indeed necessary but only medicine could not recover such individuals if they lacked the determination and will to quit using drugs.
She said 20800 drug addicts received treatment each year for 45 days each.
About killer Ebola virus, the acting public health minister said the disease had not been detected so far in the entire Asia. “We are not concerned about the virus,” she said.
A global campaign has been launched against the western Africa’s outbreak that has so far killed 4400 people among 8500 infected individuals.
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