Afghanistan cultivates drugs on record vast area under US invasion – Dilshad Azeem

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28 January 2009

Source: RAWA

Illicit drugs production, an issue of global concern in Afghanistan, has set a new record of peak escalation in the war on terror period as compared to previous Taliban-led rule over the land-locked country.

“Almost a twenty times additional land has been brought under drugs cultivation in seven years of US-led forces’ control and Karazi administration in Afghanistan,” said official sources while handing over the latest statistics on the neighbouring country.

Following 9/11 attacks and Taliban’s refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden to the US, the allied forces ousted the regime in end-2001, the year during which poppy opium cultivation was at the lowest ebb in Afghanistan’s history from 1994 onwards and till today.

The surge in production and areas brought under cultivation of prohibited drugs may be unbelievable for civilized societies to be suffering ultimately with continuous enhancement of the booming worldwide drugs trade.

The latest figures, obtained by The News, reveals that the drug production, instead of its eradication, has registered a hike of 40 times more than the lowest in 2001 in all the previous 14 years during which the Taliban emerged, fell and the sole superpower installed its favourites.

Similarly 20 times more area has been brought under cultivation of opium poppy in the last seven years as it was just 7,606 hectares in the year 2001 against presently 1,57,000 hectares, a bad example that would ultimately hit the masses damaging their fundamentals.

Telling a true story of permanent increase in opium poppy cultivation since 2001, the Foreign Office sources said the production reduced to only 185 tons in the year 2001 but now it stands at 7,700 tons a year, with an unanswered question as to whether Afghans can use all or drugs mafia supplies the major chunk to the rest of the world.

The sudden increase in the prohibited drugs, an international worry, is alarming as these directly target people whether living in the region or other parts of the world. “The US would have results far better had it used a few billions for drugs control in the long-term benefits of the people,” the official referring to figures, worked out by the UN and other global organizations, said.

Statistics also reveal that opium poppy was being cultivated on 71,470 hectares in 1994 that gradually, with negligible ups and downs, touched the lowest figure of 7,606 hectares in 2001.

According to these statistics, the opium poppy cultivation in hectares was 74,000, 80,000, 1,31,000, 1,04,000, 1,65,000 and 1,93,000 respectively in the years, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 as the international coalition took over Afghanistan in end-2001.

Likewise, the production of drugs was recorded as 3,400, 3,600, 4,200, 3,800, 6,100 and 8,200 tons in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively, reflecting a consistency in upward trend.

According to international media reports, the US spent almost US$60 billion besides donors’ US$3 billion till 2008 in the name of war on terror, reconstruction and its various aspects in Afghanistan since 2001. But how would the superpower control prohibited drugs production in that country if all energies are spent on the use of force.

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