Observers say fight against narcotics still slogan

Wednesday, 06 December 2017 03:27 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 70 times

One of the objectives of the US-led international community's intervention in Afghanistan was the eradication of narcotics, but they have rather increased by several fold over the past 16 years, analysts stress, believing that the Afghan government and the international community still lack the will to stamp out the crop. 

 

Political analysts also say the recent bombing campaign launched by Afghan government and foreign troops to destroy opium production facilities in southern Helmand province has other goals other than eradication of opium, and is intended to protect foreign interests. 

Nawab Amirzai, a political expert, even claimed the money which has been poured into Afghanistan to counter narcotics over the past 15 years has led to expansion than elimination of opium. 

"Foreigners used the funds meant for the fight against narcotics on expanding the cultivation and production of drugs, and all statements made in support of the fight are mere slogans," Amirzai told The Heart of Asia. 

Referring to the recent spate of airstrikes carried out by Afghan and foreign troops to root out opium processing labs, he said opium could not be eradicated by dropping bombs, suggesting that Afghan farmers should be provided with alternative sources of livelihood. 

Afghan government, Nawab Amirzai said, knew foreigners did not have the will to eradicate drugs, but it was silent so that the foreigners did not halt aid. 

Sharif Helmandi, a civil society activist in southern Helmand province, said Afghan and foreign troops launched counter-narcotic operations in Helmand only for four days, and the campaign has been halted now. "No attacks have been carried out over the last four nights, and people believe that foreigners conducted a few symbolic raids, but they have now been stopped." 

There was no sign to prove that opium cultivation and production has dropped in Helmand, because that could not happen through the operations conducted by Afghan and foreign forces. 

Terming the battle against narcotics as a repetitious, meaningless slogan with no tangible result over the past decade and a half, Obaidullah Barakzai, a member of Wolesi Jirga, told The Heart of Asia: "Instead of devising and implementing a workable and feasible policy to combat opium, the government and foreigners step up their counter-narcotic rhetoric for a few days just to deceive the world." 

According to him, the goal of destruction of drug processing facilities in Helmand and some other regions was to prevent the collapse of opium processing factories in the US and Europe. 

Obaidullah Barakzai emphasized that as long as foreigners could benefit from the lucrative drug trade, and the poor Afghan farmers did not find alternative and sources of revenue, counter-narcotic efforts would not render any result. 

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani has recently emphasized in his speeches that drug was one of the main sources of financing insurgency in the country which he was determined to  disrupt and eliminate.