Poppy cultivation won’t decline without security: Azimi
KABUL (Pajhwok): The counter-narcotics minister on Wednesday said the bulk of poppy crop was grown in three insecure provinces, with dearth of resources making it difficult to fight the menace.
Salamat Azimi was summoned to the question and answer session of the Wolesi Jirga. ”The majority of poppy crops are being cultivated in three insecure provinces namely Kandahar, Helmand and Badakhshan,” she said.
She said drugs fuelled insecurity in the country and remained a major source of income for insurgents.
Azimi said the Counternarcotics Ministry had programmes to prevent poppy cultivation but insecurity impeded progress, blaming drug smugglers of their involvement in creating insecurity. “Without security, poppy cultivation will not decline,” she added.
A recent UN report puts the number of drug addicts in Afghanistan at three million in 2014. “The population of addicts has risen due to poverty, easy access to drugs, and migration,” the minister said.
She had last week called drug addiction the second biggest threat to Afghans’ lives after security threats, saying the government had the political will to continue efforts at countering narcotics.
Azimi said treatment facilities for drug addicts had increased to 11 percent after the number of rehab centres reached 108 across the country. These centres, she said, were capable to treat 39,000 addicts in one year.
But she said if the international community and other relevant organs did not support the fight on drugs, it was difficult for the Counternarcotics Ministry alone to fight the menace.
“The Public Health Ministry should facilitate rehabilitation of addicts, the Ministry of Labour should provide employment and the Interior Ministry should bust smugglers and drug sellers,” she said, adding her ministry was only a policy-making organ.
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