Logar’s Azra district becomes major hashish hub
PUL-I-ALAM (Pajhwok): The Azra district of central Logar province has become a major hub of hashish crop cultivation and drug smuggling, local officials say.
The district’s chief, Hamidullah Hamid, told Pajhwok Afghan News that most residents of the town used their land to cultivate hashish and poppy crops.
He said by cultivating poppy and smuggling drugs, the residents resolved their economic problems.
“90 percent of the land in Azra district is used to grow hashish crop and the growers by selling the yield earn millions of afghanis each year and the 10th part of their income is given to Taliban as ushr,” the district chief said.
He said the Taliban used to collect the ushr amounting to millions of afghanis during the harvest season.
Hamidi said arable land in the district was insufficient and residents instead of growing food crops used to cultivate poppy and hashish crops.
The official said the cultivation of the illicit crops could be prevented only when the government provided alternative source of income to the farmers.
A member of the provincial council and resident of Azra district, Abdul Wali Wakeel, told Pajhwok Afghan News that most of the land in the district was grown with cannabis.
He also confirmed the residents were earning millions of afghanis from the sale of the hashish crop. He said the district had been turned into a big centre of drug trade and smuggling.
“From the four eastern provinces, narcotics are brought to Azra district and supplied to the rest of the country from there,” the public representative said.
He said the Taliban not only received millions of afghanis in ushr but they also took money from drug smugglers.
Wakeel said the government should take serious measures and prevent the cultivation of hashish and other illegal crops in the district.
A resident of the district, Gulabuddin, told Pajhwok Afghan News that hashish and other such crops had long been cultivated in the district.
“Our people earn much from the sale of these crops. Such income is not possible from other crops.”
Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Pajhwok that they had not received reports about the cultivation of hashish crop in Azra district.
However, he said if people had cultivated hashish, the Taliban would not want to enter a conflict with them at this stage of the conflict in Afghanistan. “First of all, taking ushr on hashish crop is not against Shariah.”
Azra is an insecure district which borders Kabul, Nangarhar and Paktia provinces.
The road between Azra and Pul-i-Alam, the provincial capital, has been closed over the past 14 years and residents of the district travel through Nangarhar to reach Kabul and Pul-i-Alam.
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