Militants earn $150 million annually from the illicit drug trade: Muslimyar
KABUL - Meshrano Jirga members on Tuesday said the government and the international community had failed in their efforts to counter narcotics in Afghanistan, asking the authorities concerned to answer questions raised by lawmakers in this regard. After a prolonged discussion on the issue, the upper house decided to summon the Minister of Counter Narcotics, his deputy and Head of Counter Narcotics at the Attorney General's Office to brief the senate on week.
The international community and the Afghan government had so far been unable get rid of the menace, said the Senate chairman, said Fazl Hadi Muslimyar. He demanded of the government to take concrete steps in this regard and punish smugglers. Militants earned $150 million a year in income from the illicit drug trade, he said.
Khaliqdad Balaghi, a lawmaker from Kabul, said poppy cultivation increased despite the supply of alterative agricultural inputs to farmers.
Another member from Logar, Sifatullah Haqmal, also echoed Balaghi's remarks, saying people stopped cultivating poppy in 2001 and 2002, but they started the cultivation again after the government decided to provide them improved quality wheat seeds and fertilizers.
He urged religious leaders to advice people against growing the prohibited plant.
A spokesman for the Counter Narcotics Ministry Abdul Qayum Samir said there was zero poppy cultivation in 20 of Afghanistan 34 provinces and that efforts were in place to further reduce the level.
The government had allocated one million US dollars for areas where poppy production had dropped to nearly zero, but the amount was spent on various developmental projects on the demand governors and provincial council members, he said.