The Acting Minister of Counter Narcotics Din Mohammad Mubarez Rashidi on Tuesday reported that drug smugglers, in joint collaboration with the Taliban, have launched major clashes in various regions to ensure the flow of drug money, adding that the political will to curb the menace has not been strong enough.
Summoned at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Rashidi asserted that many of the recent battles in various parts of the country were fought over drugs.
"The battles fought in recent days in southern Helmand and some other provinces have been fought over drugs by major drug mafia in the shape of the Taliban or alongside the Taliban," he said. "It is obvious that it is a drug war."
In addition, Rashidi said that the funds derived from drug-smuggling are estimated to around $80 billion on an annual basis.
"From the total amount of about $70 or $80 billion, only one million goes to the poppy farmers and another $150 million or so goes to armed insurgents."
Meanwhile, the Minister of Public Health, Suraya Dalil, too, emphasized on a solid political will to seriously accelerate anti-drug efforts and remove the roots of the problem.
"We have to undertake serious work to combat drug smuggling in joint cooperation with the neighboring countries and the international community, mainly those that are the victims of drug smuggling," Dalil said.
Over the past 13 years, more than $7.8 billion was allocated for efforts to combat drug smuggling in Afghanistan.
Based on the statement of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, 53 percent of the overall opium is cultivated in southern Helmand, one of the most insecure provinces in the country.
Despite this, Afghanistan still constitutes the world's largest producer of opium.