Who Promotes Afghan Farmers' Opium Cultivation and Production?

Kawther Salam: According to UNODC’s Afghan Opium Survey 2017, the disappointing reversal of last year has become a profoundly alarming trend in the cultivation and production of opium in the country. The Survey’s findings show the total area under poppy cultivation has jumped a dizzying 63 per cent or 127,000 hectares compared to 2016. In 2017, the total area of cultivation is 328,000 hectares.

For both Afghanistan, and the world, we are heading towards uncharted territory with a new record high obliterating the previous one in 2014. Perhaps even more disturbing, potential opium production is estimated at 9,000 tons; an 87 per cent increase from the 2016 level of 4,800 tons.

The following discussion took place today Wednesday 15 November 2017 at 12:00 noon at a press conference on Afghanistan Opium Survey, held at Vienna International Centre, on room C0735, Building C, 7th Floor with Angela Me, Chief of the Research and Trend Analysis Branch, and the UN office on drugs and crime (UNODC).

Mr. Brian Hansford, chief advocacy section addressing me: Can you ask your questions at the conference? And please say who are you?

Me: Sorry Mr. Hansford, I just arrived at the conference room, would you please allow me to look at the UNODC report on Afghanistan opium survey 2017 before I ask my questions. Why did the press conference start earlier than 12 o’clock, as it was scheduled?”

Mr. Hansford: Dont worry, we will stay with you as long as you want.

Me: That’s fine Mr. Hansford. I will ask some questions before reading your report.

The UNODC office always talks about the high increase in the production and cultivation of opium despite all the conferences your office holds with Member States and the subsequent decisions. What positive results have your conferences achieved in reducing opium cultivation and production, and what is the use of such conferences if they do not achieve anything?

Ms. Me: Do you mean the conferences held last year? There are binding decisions for UNODC Member States but opium cultivation and production are illegal and take place outside the control of Member States and the implementation of decisions.

Q: Do you think that the powerful countries (without names) in Afghanistan, under security and military pretexts, are behind the increase of the cultivation, production and distribution of opium?

Answer: No, I don’t think so, no state in power is involved.

Q: What is your comment on the saying that the US military is behind the increase of production of opium?

Answer: I do not think so, we have no information directed against the US military in Afghanistan.

So where does the opium of Afghanistan go if America is not the beneficiary and who is responsible for producing opium?

Answer: Farmers are responsible, and a lot of opium production goes to Canada.

Comment and Question: Frankly, I do not think the simple farmer is responsible for the production of opium, and there is no wealth for the farmers or the Republic of Afghanistan.

Why do not you communicate with the simple farmer instead of the conferences? Afghanistan is an Islamic country, the mosque and the sheikh can play an important role in the field of preaching and religious guidance, which prohibits opium and drugs cultivation and production.

Answer: Yes we have a plan to communicate with farmers, clerics, and this category of clerics already banned opium. UNODC has created initiatives including the Triangular Initiative.

UNODC will work with its partners, including the government, to do everything possible to help Afghanistan’s people; but renewed regional and international commitment and engagement is fundamental to any tangible solutions.

Comment: So you will not have a problem of opium in the future. (with a broad smile). Everyone answers the same smile.

Q: How does Afghanistan’s opium cross the borders of other nations.

Answer: Through Iran and the Middle East.

Q: I think that Iran has confiscated a large supply of opium at his border? What do you think?

Answer: Yes, 30 percent of the smuggling of opium passes through Iran

Q: Why countries do not work to reduce opium cultivation and production by legalizing it? There are countries that allow the use of drugs, and drug users do not die in the street. They are happy as I hear.

Answer: The States will not legalize opium to protect people from addiction. The world’s consumer markets causing increased health and social problems. The problem of drug use will place added burdens on the already stretched Afghan public health services.

4 comments to Who Promotes Afghan Farmers’ Opium Cultivation and Production?

  • jim

    Everyone that possesses two functional frontal lobes fully knows that Vietnam was the first US Opium war and Afghanistan is number two. The biggest dope dealer on Earth, by far and away is the totally corrupt commie US Government. The reason the Donald increased the troop levels in Afghanistan, was to increase productivity and distribution of their cash crop.

    The US also easily leads the world in porn and murder (wars), so when when you should go USA, what you really mean is push drugs, porn and murder. Why do you think we are such great allies with Israhell? Wow, what a great country to live in, not.

  • Howard T. Lewis III

    Your average first grader can get this one. The British royal family and the U.S. Bush criminal cabal working under the leadership of the Bush run American Skull and Bones Society enterprise moves the opium. Joel L.does a lot of refining in the back rooms of a number of his dry cleaning establishments set up across Afghanistan to keep tuxedos min top shape.

  • chris

    They can confidently say that it is not the US Military, because they know it’s the CIA running the drugs game.

  • Tina

    Everyone knows it’s the CIA that is America’s drug cartel. They use it to weaken our country from the inside. No matter how many times they have been caught drug running nothing will be done about it because they don’t have to answer to anyone. That’s how the CIA funds all the dirty work that they do. They are a rouge agency that needs to be eliminated. We all know why we are in Afghanistan, it has nothing to do with the American hired and trained terrorists. It’s all about the drugs!

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