Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Religious Scholars Can be Part of Solution to Menace of Opium Cultivation

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Religious Scholars Can be  Part of Solution to Menace  of Opium Cultivation

Recently, Kazakhstan Foreign Minister, Mr. Yerzhan Kazykhanov, wrote an article titled the regional commitment is vital for Afghanistan. In the article, he noticed about the role of his government in combating drug trafficking, meanwhile, emphasized that the menace could not be resolved without dealing with opium cultivation in Afghanistan. Definitely, it is not just him. There are people across the globe complaining about poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.

They are partly right. No matter how strong neighbors deal with drug-trafficking, the challenge would not be uprooted unless poppy cultivation stops. If opium production continues in the country, Mafia and drug traffickers would always be able to find new route to regional and global markets.

So, the question is how to deal with the menace? There are various solutions put by experts. Here are some.
One of the measures that Afghan government and its foreign allies have yet done has pouring cash into provinces which are the capital of opium production. But considering that staggering amount of foreign donations, nothing considerable has been achieved in terms of drug-eradication. No doubt, those dollars have largely helped economic growth and restoration of economic infrastructure, but yet the level of opium production remained generally constant.

I do not criticize government and foreign donors on the basis that why some provinces of Afghanistan are left completely untouched and no developmental and reconstructions program have been held, though they were peaceful and their denizens largely helped to process of democratization. And I also do not question why provinces like Helmand receives the largest portion of foreign financial assistance, while in the central parts, it takes days to reach the capital city Kabul because of de-concreted or even unpaved roads and highways.

But I do question: what those government and foreign donations have done so far? What is the result? Could they force Taliban-led militants to retreat back and eliminated their hideouts? The answer is clear— A BIG NOPE. It remains still the most concrete stronghold of Taliban militants.

Giant portion of Afghanistan's total poppy production is done here. Government still lacks to challenge its armed opposition. But still we beat on the same drum, expect different sound. It is similar to extinguish fire through stacking dry woods to suffocate. This is a clear wastage of time, money and efforts, but we are acting like a small child who hopes his possessing might be changed into gold one.

Sincerely, I am not in view that pouring cash to famers is good measure to succeed, based on the past experience. Why the government and foreign donors have not controlled and assessed the efficiency of their donations. Why we are not thinking that where and how their financial supports do any better the current security crisis of the country. We all believe that stability and development has close relationship. If we just ignore developmental programs in countries just emerged out of severe armed conflicts, we cannot achieve political stability.

Narcotics and poppy cultivation is, no doubt, a big challenge not only for the security situation as well as for people of Afghanistan. According to reports around one and half million people are addicted, and it is rising rapidly. It is a catastrophe for Afghan people. Dirty places of cities are filled with numbers of addicted youngsters. And there are accurate data reveals that Afghan security forces are addicted to heroin and opium too. This multiplies the inefficiency of administration, certainly.

Considering all the challenges, poppy eradication campaigns does not have a good profile, and it would not be if effective measures are not held. I really doubt about the campaign as the governor of Helmand told recently. It is clear that districts of the province are under control of Taliban militants. Then what does the poppy eradication campaign means? If the government cannot establish security and provide safety to citizens, then how it can hold campaign against poppy cultivation?

I hope that huge foreign donations were not wasted, and they were not spent in places that latter on Taliban rockets hit and changed the whole efforts and finances into smoke and dusts. If those cash and financial donations were allocated to strengthening of Afghan security forces, today we had quite more convenient security situation.

There are three solutions to end the narcotic production in the country——depending on religious scholars, increasing awareness people and harmful effects of addictions, and, finally, wielding force. Many times I have emphasized on the role of religious scholars. Meanwhile, I am sure many of them are not against it and are convenient with the production.

But the influential Mullahs are vital. But why the have chosen a shameful silence against this tragic phenomenon, which takes the life of Afghan civilians. they have tens of Hadith ( quotation from Prophet Mohammad, Peace be upon him, and from his truly followers about putting a glance to a girl and signal the fire of hell to those woman who does not wear a "veil", lets say, putting on Islamic clothing, but for narcotics their mouths are shamefully shut.

Is avoiding to wear Hijab by a teenage girl is worse then making hundreds of thousands of people addict to narcotics through massive poppy cultivation? Yes? Ok. Whoops! What philosophy? According to this theological thinking, humans have no importance, and their life has not value at all. What give them value is "beard and veil".

Since Afghanistan is a religious society, and religious scholars enjoy huge influence in the society,. Thus, they are responsible to command and issue "Fitwa" that poppy cultivators according to law as well as religious jurisprudence are guilty and will reprimand all those who harms people by any means, whether it by poppy cultivation or Russia made bullets. I am sure if few influential scholar break their current silence, they can do far better then millions of dollars pumped to Helmand Province, note down.

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

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