The Counter-Narcotics Law will go into effect early next year. The law includes 5 chapters and 67 Articles. It was approved in 2009, but due to the poppy eradication campaigns and the so-called alternative programs, this law has not been implemented. Once this law goes into effect, there will be legal action against farmers who cultivate poppy crop. The punishment is not strict, but this law must be implemented and practiced strongly to make it effective. For instance, the punishment is three months of imprisonment if a farmer is found cultivating poppy on half an acre of land. The harshest punishment is 10 years of jail.
According to a latest UN report, there has been an increase of seven percent in the year 2011 compared to last year. This increase has been reported despite the fact that Ministry of Antinarcotics has destroyed 65 percent of the total cultivation this year; otherwise the increase would have been more than 10 percent.
According to Antinarcotics Ministry officials, poppy crop on 3810 acres of land in 18 provinces have been destroyed. According to Antinarcotics Minister Zarar Ahmad Muqbil, 123,000 acres of land was cultivated last year, but it has increased to 131,000 acres in 2011.
It is ridiculous that the implementation of Counter-Narcotics Law has taken so long. With its implementation, there will be significant change in the statistics about poppy cultivation and production. However, it all depends on the will of the government, which we are not very hopeful about. This law must be strictly implemented and the international community, who are now less interested in issues like counter-narcotics and corruption, should push the Karzai Administration for serious action on this.
The most common fear in poppy production surge is that the farmers could turn to back to cultivation as there are no alternatives for them. They have been very soft. There has never been a real war against poppy. There have been some attempts of alternative programs for farmers, but the question is how long will the international community need to bribe our farmers so that they do not grow poppy to produce drugs which kill millions of people every year around the world?
If the current policy of bribing the poppy-growing farmers continues, which benefits the drug mafia and opium business tycoons who make the real deal from all this, it will keep Afghanistan the biggest producer of drugs in the world for the second consecutive decade.