ISLAMABAD: Poppy cultivation has increased by 7% in the current year than the previous year in Afghanistan which is a matter of grave concern for Pakistan, said a senior official of Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).
The official said that a majority of drug traffickers held abroad often produce Pakistani passports which also resulted in serious repercussions for Pakistanis at international fronts.
“The total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was estimated to be 224,000hectares (200,000-250,500) in 2014, which represents a 7% increase from2013.In 2014, 98% of total opium cultivation in Afghanistan took place in the Southern Eastern and Western regions of the country” the official said adding, “In the Southern region, 67% was concentrated in Day Kundi, Hilmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces; in the Western region, 22% was concentrated in Badghis, Farah, Hirat and Nimroz provinces; in the Easternregion, 9% was concentrated in Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Kapisa provinces.”
The official said that Hilmand remained the country’s major opium-cultivating province (103,240hectares), followed by Kandahar (33,713hectares), Farah (27,513hectares), Nangarhar (18,227hectares), Nimroz (14,584hectares),Uruzgan5(9,277hectares), Badghis (5,721hectares), Badakhshan (4,204 hectares), Zabul (2,894hectares), Laghman (901 hectares), Kunar (754hectares), Hirat (738hectares) Day Kundi 6(587hectares),Ghor (493hectares), Kapisa (472hectares),Kabul (233hectares) and Sari Pul (195 hectares).
“With the exception of the Central region, all regions experienced an increase in poppy-cultivation levels in 2014, with the largest relative increase being in the North-eastern region (79%; mainly driven by increases in Badakhshan), followed by the Eastern(9%) Western (8%) and North-eastern regions (4%)”
However, the source said that the vast majority (89%) of total opium cultivation took place in nine provinces in Afghanistan’s Southern and Western regions. Opium cultivation increased in most of the main opium poppy-growing provinces, including Badakhshan , Badghis, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Farah, Hilmand, whereas it decreased in Nimroz and Uruzgan provinces..
The official said that in the Eastern region, cultivation decreased in Kunar, Laghman and Kapisa provinces by 33%, 27% and 19%, respectively, but increased in Nangarahar province by 16% while North-Eastern region, Badakhshan saw a 77% increase in opium poppy cultivation, from 2,374hectares in 2013to 4,204 hectares in 2014.