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Drug Cultivation in Afghanistan,

First, let me explain a little bit about the history of drug cultivation in Afghanistan. When the Taliban government started in Afghanistan in 1996, the Taliban banned all types of drug cultivation, and those who refused from this rule were arrested and kept in jail until they also accepted not to cultivate drugs anymore. This rule of Taliban was quiet good to avoid drug dealing and addiction however it created a big problem which is poverty. In 2001, when the Taliban government was failed, this gave all farmers a good opportunity to restart cultivating drugs in their fields. In fact, this was not their choice to cultivate drugs, but it was poverty which brought them into this point. You might think why didn’t they cultivate any vegetables or fruits? The reasons were because of poverty, becoming aware of the high price of opium in the border areas, and mainly they passed 10 years of drought. No water, no awareness, and no crops, so they finally had one way to cope with this situation and that was cultivating drugs.
This situation has continued till now and unfortunately now Afghanistan produces approximately 90% opium of the entire world. Within the two main illegal opium producing areas of Asia, the Golden Triangle which consists of Thailand, Burma, and Vietnam; and the Golden Crescent which consists of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, Afghanistan is the largest illegal producer of opium and is ahead of all these countries. The main problem of this drug cultivation is illicit acts. It means that all drugs are being cultivated illegally, so that can create a huge problem. If the government doesn’t take this issue seriously, there will occur lots of problems such as, government economy will fall down, addiction will increase rapidly, youth generation will be destroyed and most importantly poverty will increase plus the country will remain back warded.
In order to reduce drug cultivation, the government has been working on two solutions. One was that the government banned drug cultivation as the Taliban had done before, however this caused more problems because as all the farmers are poor, they will never accept this solution without having at least one advantage of that, and instead they had to lose their highly price crops (opium), so this solution made them become against the government and even cultivate secretly. Another solution was arresting and spoiling all drug dealers in the border areas, but was also not so useful because still the government cannot keep the security due to the shortage of army so how can it arrest all the drug dealers. If we don’t stop drug cultivation first, drug dealing will never be omitted.
As I searched about this problem, I have found a better solution that can surely work. That is, now days Afghanistan is a developing country, and lots of foreign countries are helping financially, economically and educationally. As a result, Afghanistan annually earns Millions of dollars as foreign aid, if the government takes out one part of this aid and spends it on farmers that will have a great success. Three major things must be done with this money.
First, the government should give small, but long-term loans to each farmer, that can persuade them from cultivating drugs and instead they can buy alternative crops with that money.
Second, if the farmers cultivate crops and finally harvest them, they will have another problem that is the way distance from fields to the real market, so the government should buy special, agricultural vehicles to help them transform their crops to the markets on time, therefore, the taste and freshness of the crops will not be lost due to keeping them for a long time or due to the long distance.
Third, the government should provide some free, useful workshops to educate farmers about different techniques of farming, agriculture and cultivation, because most of the farmers in Afghanistan are illiterate, therefore they will be really interested and enthusiastic to get knowledge in their field.
Finally if the government takes these steps solidly, I am sure that farmers will stop cultivating drugs without even being forced not to do and that will bring a successful future not only for Afghanistan but also to the world.

Dear all,

Please, feel free to leave comments in here, I would appreciate that. This was a problem-solution speech that I had to give in my class, then I thought I can share this also with you, so I shared it. I hope you like it and I think my solution is not so perfect but it can possibly be effective. If you have any idea about this, please share that with us.

Best Wishes,

Mursal Hamraz

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Comments

JaniceW's picture

Fascinating

Mursal,
Thank you for this compelling and insightful piece about the opium trade in Afghanistan. It is indeed a pressing but difficult problem for a nation where the average wage is $2 a day, with heroin and opium trafficking producing revenues of approx. $2.3 billion annually – as much as 60 percent of Afghanistan's official annual GDP.

It seems that no other crop can compete with opium as a source of income, and given the low-risk and that selling it is rarely punished by the authorities, it is easy to see why poppy production has spread to 28 of 32 provinces, and estimates are that about 30 percent of families are involved in the trade.

Afghanistan is already a fragile state in one of the most sensitive and volatile regions in the world and without additional resources, it is likely that should the international community expand the drug war, it will make matters worse. Unfortunately, as much as I believe in your ideas as sound solutions for this problem, with its limited resources it seems that the government has little choice but to leave Afghanistan's opium market open to the world while it focuses on bringing the country to a state of stability.

Mursal Hamraz's picture

Dear Janice,

Thanks for giving comment, and the real information that you provided about the drugs dealing in Afghanistan. To be honest, sometime when I search on the topic Afghanistan on internet, I become too much depressed and unhappy. Before becoming able to use internet, I was thinking that maybe Afghanistan is well-known because of the Taliban war and the three decades of war, but now everyday I am getting something new about my country. For example, War on Terrorism (in fact main points in this topic are Iraq and Afghanistan), Drug Cultivation in Afghanistan (in fact the largest producer of opium), Illiteracy (most of population are uneducated), Bomb blasts and insecurity, Favouritism and bribery (according to what I got from internet, Afghanistan is the second country with the most office bribes), Tribalism (internal wars between different tribes of Afghanistan), and so on............... Truly I am not that much depressed about my studies or being far from my home, as much as I am depressed about the situation of my country(maybe getting worse). I WANT MY COUNTRY TO BE FREE. These all big news kill me inside time to time. I pray and want all to pray for not only my country, but for all countries in the world to find a safe atmosphere. I will write about unity of people on the earth as soon as I become healthy again.

JaniceW's picture

Hope

dearest Mursal,
I understand your despair when you read the internet but I have great hope for the future of Afghanistan because of my faith in women such as yourself. Your story is one of hope and a beacon of light for those young girls in your country. Your voice is a powerful instrument in bringing the stories of young Afghan girls to life for us, opening our minds and stimulating our desire to help make this world a better place for all women.

I look forward to reading more from you about your homeland and your dreams. I hope you will be inspired to share with us more of the issues and success stories you have encountered so as to provide insight and inspiration for others. Your country has had a long struggle with governance and it is slowly moving towards stability and creating an environment where women can begin to speak out. It is through women such as yourself, and the young girls at AIL, that stories are being told, movements are being started and laws are being reformed.

I also encourage you to connect with Madre who are working to provide Afghan girls and women with safe learning environments so that they can exercise their right to education, as well as creating the Afghan Women’s Survival Fund to enable women who are threatened with violence to escape to safety. Organizations such as Madre work with grassroots sister organizations in developing long-term solutions to the crises they face and I am confident that if we all share our stories to continue raising awareness and work together, we can create a better world for all women and girls.

Salam aleikom!
Janice

jadefrank's picture

What will it take?

Dearest Mursal,

You again amaze me with your maturity and insight... your vision for your country and your passion for its people. As you have pointed out, allowing farmers to illegally cultivate opium is only going to lead the people of Afghanistan into trouble. And you have included some clear points for the government to begin solving this issue by providing farmers with assistance and alternatives to cultivating opium. This is part of what makes you a visionary and a leader Mursal - not only do you illuminate issues and bring them to a global platform - you also provide solutions. This thinking will take you far and gives me great hope for your country.

What will it take for the government to consider such policies and how can we reach them with these demands? And what do farmers think of such programs - do they feel this would ensure their livelihoods - enough to steer them away from cultivating opium?

My aunt is interested in supporting women Afghan farmers to cultivate pomegranates - as these fruits are highly valued in the western world and valued for their high level of antioxidants. They don't grow well here and North Americans pay high prices for pomegranates and products.

And how will the rest of the world help to put pressure on the Afghan government to create social programs for its farmers... as the opium trade is a global issue - it seems that it's up to other countries - in the golden triangle, golden crescent and beyond, to step up as well.

Thank you for sharing this issue and your ideas for its solutions. You are a bright beacon of light in our community and it is a joy to have your voice here on PulseWire.

In friendship,
Jade

Dear Janice and Jade,

Thanks for your comments. I think the idea of cultivating pomegrants is very good, it can be exported abroad also. Another problem with farmers is packing, and cold rooms, I mean the government hasn't provided space, or materials to pack fruits and other crops and keep them in a cold room. As I was talking to my father, he told me some important points. One was packing and cold rooms, another one was security, because when the poor farmers want to transform their crops by themselves, the way is not secure, and it can be stolen and it can be taken forcefully by way thieves; also bribery is another point, when the farmers transform their crops, on the way some polices don't let them to cross unless they give them money as bribe. All the above issues are very important to be taken seriously. I think United Nation is the important way to enfource Afghanistan government start programs that can educate farmers. I say again that I am sure, the farmers will be interested to attend these programs, and as i said if the program helps them to cultivate effectively, have enough money to buy their needed seeds and other chimecals, get a good harvest, have facility to transform their crops to the market, or for exporting have enough space to keep their harvest cold and have them packed to make them ready for exporting. this will not only help farmers to handle the problem of drug cultivation, but it also help some other people start working in those places where these fruits are being packed and being made ready to export.
As for an experiement, we can start this process only in one small district of Afghanistan,(where there are less fields being used to cultivate drugs), then we can judge the results that what will happen, if that is effective, then we gradually continue this process in every other districts, and will hopefully get good result.

Thanks,
Mursal

Farida Royesh's picture

How can I praise YOU?

My dear Mursal,
Would you please help me with putting your new ideas as far as you have something to share?
You know my dear, every time I reread your journals, I discover something special and new in you. I don't have much knowledge and understanding about reality in Afghanistan and how would the other people feel. For this reason, I really need your cooperation with me to know about other families in Afghanistan.

with love and respect,

Mursal Hamraz's picture

for me courage is everything,

Dear Farida jan,

First, thanks for your comment. Dear I am really not qualified of any praising, just the only thing I need is you alls' courage and help. And dear we all are out because of learning something new and apply it to our future, it means all of us should have the same purpose of (helping) each other and finally helping the world to remove the bad, horrible situation that has surrounded it.

thanks,

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