Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

The Second Regional Anti-narcotics Conference

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The Second Regional Anti-narcotics Conference

Yesterday, when I was on my way to office, I suddenly came across two persons fighting and throwing stones towards each other. However, all stones threw were missed but people gathered, including myself to stop them. Soon I figured out that both were opium-addicts. They were fighting in district 13 of Kabul city a place known as Pule-Sokhta, which verbally translated as a "Burnt Bridge". Under the same bridge, there is a gathering of drug-addicted people who have left their family or forced to leave and do not have any residential place to stay.

Thus they are staying under that bridge which is intolerably dirty and stench horribly. I am unable to define how really that place is damn dirty and, similarly, cannot picture the stench, but what I can say is that the area is awfully terrible. And how those drug addicts can handle and continue living is a miracle.

Observance of that miserable situation is really hard and will force every cruel heart to fall down and start feeling bad. In our society addiction is viewed as moral and social crime and addicted people do not receive due attention from families, friends and society to help avoid drug consumption. Society looks to addicted people as criminals and thus does not have humanitarian behavior with them in the country.

Absolutely, there are various places where drug addicted people can stick together and continue consuming domestic opium products, but  why they prefer to stay in such dirty places? The answer lies here.

They are ashamed of their addiction and cannot move in the society as alcohol and marijuana addicts do in other countries of the world. When journalists want to picture them, most of them just cover their faces like real criminals to avoid reprimanding stare of people.

Absolutely, there are various other places like Pule-Sokhta in Kabul city where they come together and live a miserable life.  Moreover, this is not the case only in Kabul. The story is similar in many major cities of the country.

Credible reports show that the number of addicts is alarmingly increasing and by each passing day, fresh people, particularly youngsters, are added to the existing ones. I have written a lot about addiction and its lethal impacts in the society, but still regret that it has not received its due measure to stop an Afghan-made calamity for Afghan people.  

Presently, tens of thousands of people are addicted to opium or its products manufactured inside the country. The number is alarmingly increasing. This is the only problem of Afghanistan, but the opium production here has become a global challenge as the Al-Qaeda. 

There are many in the world who are mad on Afghanistan and tell that if countries like Afghanistan was not there, their sons and daughters grew far safer. Their suggestion for elimination of addiction is elimination of producers or at least prohibition of cultivation, processing and trafficking.

The criticism is raised frequently from foreign diplomats too; and they ask the government of President Karzia to cope with the situation and control opium cultivation in the country. However, success has been made, but still the opium cultivation is too large to be eliminated completely.

The 'tit for tat answer' of President and other Afghan officials has been that 'markets should be eliminated too'. If the market demand persists, dealing with dilemma of opium production would not be an easy job to be realized by a weak state like that of Afghanistan.

Thus, it consistently asks international community to assist it to cope with the dilemma as they are helping in the case of insurgency and terrorism. Similar efforts have been made to motivate regional countries who are more exposed to evil of Afghan opium to cooperate and eliminate the network of traffickers to bring down the demand and through that eliminate cultivation.

In this process, few days ago, a conference was organized in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan. It was the second conference for struggle against narcotics with the participation of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Russian Federation.

The conference entitled 'joint responsibility in combating the joint threat' was attended by Zarar Ahmad Muqbel Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan, Chairman of Narcotics Control of Russian Federation, and Chairman of Struggle against Narcotics of Tajikistan, Head of the forces struggling against narcotics of Pakistan, deputy ministers of line ministries and some foreign ambassadors in Kabul. Zarar Ahmad Muqbel said at the opening ceremony that production of opium is main concern of Afghanistan and the international community.

According to him during last year cultivation of narcotics has decreased almost 48% but external factors caused that; during the current year more people resorted to narcotics cultivation. According to him almost 40,000 hectares of poppy cultivated land was destroyed in Helmand; he recalled that during narcotics destruction 17 police have lost their lives and 43 others were wounded, while the opposition has obtained USD15 million in this respect.

He added that the Central Asian Countries, Iran and Pakistan are routes through which the smugglers export narcotics to the Europe. He also mentioned special judiciary foundations, adoption of law on struggle against narcotics, creation of police academy for struggle against opium, creation of fifty sites for treating narcotic addicts in the country and creation of awareness programs for farmers as achievements of Afghanistan.

The head of struggle against narcotics of Russia emphasized on cooperation of the world and the region in the struggle against opium production. He noted that the problem of narcotics is encompassing all the world countries and there is need for unified struggle against narcotics.

He noted that the root cause of this problem is outside Afghanistan while the person of this country is harmed. The Pakistani representative noted that so far 60,000 tons of narcotics have been destroyed in Pakistan and some smugglers were arrested in this connection. He emphasized on the role of media in elimination of narcotics.

The head of Tajikistan narcotics control said that narcotics are the only income source of terrorist groupings in the region who earn income from this source to by arms and their other needs.

Jawad Rahmani is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at jawad_rahmani2001@yahoo.com

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