Poppy eradication campaign launched in Uruzgan has cleared 3000 acres of land. Contrary to what has always been the propagated fear that it will provoke farmers to violence, the campaign is working successfully under the leadership of local Police Chief Matiullah Khan. The eradication campaign is launched in Khanqi, Shah Mansur and Charmagar districts of Uruzgan.
We have always argued that the Government and international forces should enforce the poppy eradication campaign. The war on poppy is forgotten. Aside from the fact that a huge part of the financial support to insurgents comes from transport and smuggling of opium, it's also exporting deaths to millions of people around the world, and the number of drug addicts increasing in Afghanistan. Taliban militants get $400 million a year through direct and indirect revenue from poppy cultivation, transportation and trade.
According to a recent UN report, poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has increased significantly. The report said 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.
The international community is ignoring the focus on poppy eradication, and our Government with some bigwigs of the power corridor involved in drug profits has always been opposing effective and harsh programs of eradication.
Recently in a gathering of top religious scholars and clerics from different parts of the country, a Fatwa was issued against poppy cultivation. But the Government has failed to broadcast the message of clerics effectively in all parts of the country though media and other sources.
The religious scholars said poppy cultivation is un-Islamic and forbidden. Over 600 clerics issued the unanimous religious decree (Fatwa) saying that the cultivation of poppy, its trade and transportation was against the teachings of Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), therefore the people should stop it.
The decree said poppy cultivation leads a Muslim society to moral corruption and destruction of values. It added, "We, the religious scholars, call on the people of Afghanistan to stop the cultivation of the Sharia-prohibited crops."
The Counter-Narcotics law is yet to go in effect. It was approved in 2009, but under the pretext of the so-called alternative programs, the Government has not implemented the law. 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.
The Government and international community should step up efforts against poppy eradication.