In Lashkargah, drug addiction & sales on the rise
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Drug addicts in southern Helmand province see little hope for their rehabilitation as long as the open sale of narcotics in local markets is not banned.
Mohammad Daud, one of the addicts, told Pajhwok Afghan News drugs were sold openly in many areas.“I have been addicted to heroin for the past 20 years, thanks to the easy availability of the substance.”
He accused security forces of either looking the other way or being complicit in the illegal commerce. The result has been growing addiction among youth and mounting family tensions, Daud argued.
Mauladad, another drug user, confirmed all sorts of illicit drugs were easily accessible in Helmand.“The government doesn’t act, as narcotics are sold here without any restrictions,” he said.
A number of youthhold the same view. They asked the government to prevent the sale of drugs in the province.Sardar Wali, hailing from Lashkargah, alleged a woman and her three sons sold drugs openly in Semeti area.
“The woman, Zarmina, and her sons Lalai, Matan and Naeem are living in a house known as Zarmina House,” he revealed. “The door to Zarmina House has a hole at the bottom. People place cash in the hole and take out drugs.”
Police twice raided the house, forcing a brief halt to the sale of narcotics. But a few days back, the unlawful business resumed again, according to Wali, who called for a crackdown on the people involved.
A man, who wished not to be named, claimed drugs were sold at many houses in Tor Tang and Jatan areas of the provincial capital.
In the not-so-distant past, former governorMirza Khan Rahimi had acknowledged government officials were involved in the drug business, which had ruined the lives of many young people.
Abdul Majid Akhundzada, deputy head of the provincial council, also spoke of the involvement of some officials in drug smuggling. “A large number of youth are slipping into addiction due to the availabilityof drugs everywhere.”
Counter-Narcotics Director Syed Ahmad Wror said: “I have informed security organs several times about the drug business going on in Helmand, but no one has taken action. They have held out empty promises.”
Police detained several heroin sellers in Lashkargah over the past few months.But the provincial police chief, Aqa Noor Kintoz, said they had launched a campaign against opium cultivationand drug smuggling.
Police have identified 18 places in the city where drugsare sold. Two suspects had been detained so far in connection with the illegal business.
Kintoz warned the security personnel aiding drug smugglers of deterrent punishments, including arrests. Around 100,000 people are said to be addicted to drugs across the province.
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