Nearly 60 acres of land were cleared of poppy crops as a drive against the illicit cultivation has been launched in southern Kandahar on Thursday, an official said.
Officials of the anti-narcotics department said the anti-poppy eradication campaign had been initiated from Maiwand district the other day, which would be extended to Zheri, Panjwai and Shah Wali Kot districts.
Gul Mohammad Shakran, head of the anti-narcotics department, told Pajhwok Afghan News that Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers, Afghan National Police (ANP) and officials of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) would take part in the drive.
The anti-poppy campaign started from Koki and Sher Ali Karez localities on the outskirts of Maiwand district, he said, adding the workers of the drive came under insurgents’ attack but caused no casualties.
He went on to say the drive today reached to Band Taimor and Nahr Siraj areas and the officials and workers involved did not face any problem.
In addition to poppy eradication, security officials would take back the land grabbed by the influential, he added. Mohammad Khan, a poppy farmer, told Pajhwok Afghan News he cultivated opium out of compulsion but the security officials eradicated the crop.
He demanded the government should provide the farmers with alternative seeds free of cost. Local elders and religious leaders convinced the farmers not to plant poppy but they did not heed.