The drug trade in Badakhshan

Residents Complain About Public Drug Trade in Badakhshan

Expressing concern about the public drug trade, residents of the northeastern Badakhshan province complain that the Taliban do nothing when it comes to the increasing business of drug trafficking in the province. They say that the drug dealers are publicly busy with their illegal businesses and have opened drug stores among the residential houses in Faizabad, the capital city of Badakhshan.

“In the past, the drugs were sold out in areas outside of the town and hidden from the people and [the Republic’s] government’s eyes. Heroin and hashish are now fearlessly sold out in houses, alleys, and bazaars,” says Mohammad Akram, who lives in the 1st district of Faizabad.

This comes as the Taliban leader has already announced drug trade and cultivation of opium as illegal across Afghanistan in a decree issued in April 2022. The decree, however, “largely exempted” this year’s opium harvest from being curtailed, according to a recent report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).

The Taliban, however, in some cases report the arrest of drug traffickers and producers.

In the latest case, the Taliban-run Bakhtar News Agency (BNA) reported today, November 23, that the group’s police have arrested 27 people on charges of drug trafficking and production in six provinces which does not include Badakhshan province.

Aziz Ahmad, who is a resident of Faizabad’s 3rd District, is concerned that his children will become addicted to drugs as a result of carelessness by the authorities, unemployment, and poverty. “The Taliban are careless to arrest or punish drug traffickers. Heroin, hashish, and Tablet K are easily available in every alley. This makes more youth become addicted,” he added.

According to some residents of Faizabad, the Taliban local authorities are involved in the drug trade with the drug dealers and do not prosecute them.

Sediqullah, a resident of the 1st District in Faizabad, says that one of his neighbors is a drug trader who does business in his home. Unknown people and drug addicts go to his home during the day and night to purchase drugs, he says about his neighbor.

We are concerned that our children might be addicted or house appliances would be stolen as the addicted people have movements here, he says.

A drug addict who is known as Qalandar has 23 years old. With a daily revenue of 100 or 200 afghanis he makes through selling used materials, he buys Shisha – crystal meth – for himself.

“There are many people in the city who sell this [Shisha]. There are certain houses in several neighborhoods of Faizabad from where I buy it,” he says.

As compared to the past, according to a local elder, the number of drug traders has increased unprecedentedly in Badakhshan. “Unfortunately, most of the victims and the drug addicts are youths and teenagers,” the elder expresses concern.

In a report published on November 01, the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes said that income from opium sales by Afghan farmers has more than tripled and cultivation of opium poppies increased by 32 percent over the previous year.