News - Afghanistan
The Minister of Counter Narcotics Salamat Azimi on Sunday said that insecurity has mostly increased in districts where poppies are cultivated.
Speaking at a function – attended by a number of dignitaries - ahead of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, on June 26, Azimi called on the international community to help fight the problem. She said: "Terrorism, drug trafficking networks and insecurities are a phenomenon that join forces and result in increased killings and the smuggling of drugs."
In calling on the international community to help fight this scourge she also said that according to recent statistics, 11% of the population use drugs.
She also said that help for addicts was another challenge that needs to be addressed. Based on statistics, 3.5 million individuals in Afghanistan are drug users, of which 1.4 million are addicted.
"The Ministry of Public Health is committed to increasing capacity to help addicts and to find ways to prevent addiction," says Ferozuddin Feroz, Minister of Public Health.
However, the Deputy Minister of Interior for Counter Narcotics Baz Muhammad Ahmadi said there had been a decrease in the policing of drug related offenses following the withdrawal of foreign troops at the end of last year.
"The exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the transition of security responsibilities to Afghanistan National Security Forces, the limited aid in fighting against smuggling, the loss of special units has resulted in limited capacity to fight this phenomenon," says Ahmadi.
Meanwhile, the United States and Britain have both pledged their continued support in the fight against drugs in Afghanistan.
"The United Kingdom is willing to continue to provide support and assistance to the government of Afghanistan to fight illicit drugs, but ultimately it is up to Afghanistan as it requires the political will of the Afghan leadership to tackle corruption, as it requires economical alternatives being made available to farmers who are cultivating poppies," says Karen Pierce, British Ambassador to Kabul.
Based on the statistics of the Ministry of Counter Narcotics, poppies are cultivated in 132 districts of Afghanistan.