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Poppies sown on large swathes of Helmand land

Poppies sown on large swathes of Helmand land

Mar 04, 2014 - 17:15

LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Nearly 100,000 hectares of land has been brought under poppy cultivations in southern Helmand province this year, indicating a record surge, an official said Tuesday.

The cultivation of poppy crop increased this year as comparing with the previous years, Helmand Counternarcotics Director Sayyed Ahmad Waror told Pajhwok Afghan News.

He said most of the illicit plant had been grown in areas controlled by militants, therefore, he said his department could not launch surveys to ascertain how much poppy had been cultivated.

But a survey by the United Nations shows manifold increase in poppy farms in Helmand this year compared to the past.

“Militants help farmers protect their poppy farms because they receive a lion share in the revenue,” Wror said.

A poppy eradication campaign involving 750 policemen was launched two days ago to destroy the illegal crop, he added.

Governor’s spokesman, Umar Zwak, said they were mulling serious options to eradicate poppy farms throughout the province this year.

Provincial police spokesman Col Abdul Ahad Chopan said security forces were fully prepared to take the campaign to its logical end.

Deputy provincial council head Fazal Bari Fayyaz said the Afghan government was under threat from two major challenges --- militants and poppy cultivation and drug trafficking.

Shamsullah Sehrai, a tribal elder of Sangin district, expressed his pessimism about the success of the anti-poppy campaign, saying such drives bore no tangible results in the past.


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