Obviously, challenges facing Afghanistan are interlinked and intertwined. It is often said that ten years of international presence has not led to tangible changes and or decrease in those problems and they are even growing more daunting. But there is less inclination among Afghan people to take the responsibility and expect international community to address the issues. While we may have the right to ask the international community as our partner in the war on terror when it comes to their performance, the habit to refuse to take any responsibility needs to be changed if we want to move forward as proud, unified and prosperous nation.
Coming back to the problems, it could be said that an increase in one daunting challenge causes problems in other areas because of the very close link between them. Although it is better not to spread and promote pessimisms and hopelessness among the people, unfortunately the ground realties are becoming more and more frustrating at least apparently.
Other countries have been through transition to modernization and democracy and they needed years and decades to complete that process or make it happen. Given the years of war and conflict and given the large scale of destruction and erosion during this war, the country needs at least another decade to begin to claim to be going through an irreversible development process provided that extra challenges are addressed or the government takes necessary steps to address the challenges facing the country right now.
But unfortunately the government is failing to counter many of these problems effectively. For instance, Afghanistan remains the greatest illicit opium producer in the entire world. Based on new report released by UNODC, there has been a 61% increase in opium production in the year 2011 and 7% rise in poppy cultivation.
This issue is not a simple one to say that there is increase in this phenomenon. It has impacts on the other areas as well. In fact, it is a rich funding resource for the Taliban militants and other insurgents to rely on in order to continue to operate against the system and international community and kill innocent Afghans.
The new report is a review of the state of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011 and it is produced by UNODC in conjunction with the country's Ministry of Counternarcotics. The report also shows that the number of poppy free provinces has decreased from 20 to 17.
It is said that Taliban and other insurgent outfits make a lot of money out of the drug trafficking. In the meanwhile, drug lords also contribute to insecurity and instability because it is in their interest as they can continue their business of opium and drugs in an insecure situation.
The question is why strategies to overcome some of these problems are not working. Why new ways are not explored or those strategies are not modified. The government remains perplexed and has always been ignorant of the factors that erode the system and the nation bit by bit.
The flourishing drug and opium business is one of those factors and is paving the way for crimes and illegal activities as well. Unfortunately, Afghan farmers are involved in cultivating opium that can feed their enemies and those who can come back to kill through roadside bombing or suicide attacks.
This is like contributing to your own deaths. In the meanwhile, the number of drug addicts is increasing day by day. This remains against the tenet of Islam but unfortunate Mullahs who often claim to be the sole protectors of Islam remain silent and never raise their voices against the scourge that annihilate the nation gradually. It shows that even religious practices are politicized and there is no rational understanding of religion.