“If there is no opium cultivation in Helmand, there will be no war”


Mohammad Gulab Mangal, who served as the governor of Helmand province between 2008 and 2012, talks about the anti-narcotic campaign and why it has proved a big disaster.

Q: According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), Afghanistan continues to be the top opium producer in the world and Helmand is the largest producer of opium in Afghanistan. Why has the anti-narcotic campaign failed to produce results in this country?
During my tenure as the governor of Helmand province between 2008 and 2012, with the help and assistance of international partners and the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics, the cultivation of drugs decreased significantly. However, since 2012, it has again witnessed an alarming surge.

Different strategies and approaches have been used in the fight against drugs in Afghanistan. In 2004-2005, in order to dissuade farmers from cultivating opium, the government and its international partners used to pay them money. However, that policy did not work as farmers started cultivating more opium to get more money from the government and its foreign donors. 

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