Some religious scholars from Nangarhar at a gathering in Jalalabad City on Saturday issued a fatwa against poppy cultivation and use of drugs, saying that these two acts are forbidden in Islam
Figures out by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and UN Office on Drugs and Crime in November 2017 show that opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 percent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons in 2017 compared with 2016 levels. The area under opium poppy cultivation also increased to a record 328,000 hectares in 2017, up 63 percent compared with 201,000 hectares in 2016, the report said.
The clerics said that poppy cultivation has increased in Nangarhar – which has a suitable weather for any type of plants – and that farmers should cultivate legal and useful plants.
“All the scholars together announce that all drugs are forbidden. All drugs are forbidden in Islamic and all religious scholars together are releasing this fetwa,” said Mohammad Daud Mujahid, the Provincial Director of Hajj and Religious Affairs.
Participants of the gathering said all acts connecting with poppy cultivation including drugs smuggling and its processing are against the teachings of Islam.
“The Almighty Allah has ordered in the Holy Quran that eat and use those things and foods which are Halal and He has forbidden us from using poppy, tobacco or hashish,” said Mavlawi Ezatullah, a religious scholar.
Nangarhar officials said that based on their information, poppy is being cultivated in remote areas in the province.
“Shinwari and Khogyani districts are the areas where government has less control and we are concerned about these areas when it comes to poppy cultivation,” said Mohammad Idrees Sapai, head Counter Narcotics Department of Nangarhar.
“We have lunched alternative livelihood programs in eight districts of Nangarhar to tackle poppy cultivation,” he said.
Tamim Arif Mohmand, deputy governor of Nangarhar, meanwhile said that the authority will act legally against any government official or individual who will attempt poppy cultivation in any part of the province.
The participants of the gathering called on farmers to stop poppy cultivation and cultivate wheat and other legal crops so that it addresses the country needs.