Nine homeless drug users shot dead in Afghan capital: police




By Abdul Qadir Sediqi

KABUL (Reuters) - Gunmen shot dead nine homeless drug users in the Afghan capital, officials said on Sunday, shining a light on chronic drug abuse in the world's biggest producer of opium but a rare incident of apparently coordinated violence against addicts.

The motive for the Saturday night attack by the unidentified gunmen in Kabul was not known and police said they were investigating. The men had been sleeping in an open area and a forensic examination had shown they were drug users.

"The shooting took place at the side of the Qrough mountain," a spokesman for Kabul police, Ferdaus Faramarz, told Reuters.

There are an estimated 2.5 million drug users in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Public Health says, with most thought to addicted to heroin made from opium poppies grown in Afghanistan.

Some 20,000 drug users are homeless, with half that number in Kabul, at times straining relations with residents of some communities.

"It's a social crisis," said Dr Shokoor Haidari, deputy of the ministry's counter drugs department.

The ministry can only treat 40,000 people a year but far more seek help, said Haidari.

Lack of social services, unemployment and easy access to drugs have fueled drug abuse in Afghanistan, Haidari said.

Harsh winter weather killed at least 50 homeless drug users in the past two months, the Ministry of Public Health said.

Afghanistan has been the world's biggest producer of opium for years despite some $8.9 billion spent since 2002 by the U.S. government to stop production and trafficking in narcotics.

With compelling economic incentives and politically protected networks - from cultivators to producers and distributors - deeply entrenched, officials say there is little they can do to stop it.

The Interior Ministry this month announced the arrest of five top police officials, including the head of Kabul's counter-narcotics force, for suspected involvement in drug trafficking.


(Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer, Robert Birsel)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Ex-Venezuela general charged with drug trafficking surrenders to US
Ex-Venezuela general charged with drug trafficking surrenders to US

A retired Venezuelan general has turned himself over to Colombian authorities after the United States charged him with drug-trafficking and offered a reward for his capture, local media said on Saturday. Cliver Alcala turned himself in on Friday to the Colombians, who in turn handed him over to US authorities, the El Tiempo de Bogota newspaper said. Washington on Thursday indicted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and several current and former top government officials for "narco-terrorism" and offered a $15 million reward for information leading to Maduro's capture.

The trauma of the coronavirus pandemic could cause a nationwide spike in substance abuse, experts say
The trauma of the coronavirus pandemic could cause a nationwide spike in substance abuse, experts say

Experts tell Business Insider that COVID-19 could increase alcohol and drug abuse, not just now but in the years to come.

U.S special envoy congratulates Afghan leaders on
U.S special envoy congratulates Afghan leaders on 'inclusive' team for Taliban talks

The U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad congratulated Afghan political and civil society leaders on Friday on forming a negotiating team for talks with Taliban. "This consensus is a meaningful step that moves the parties significantly closer to intra-Afghan negotiations," he said on Twitter. Late on Thursday, Afghanistan's government announced a 21-member team to negotiate with the Taliban, in a tentative sign of progress for the United States-brokered peace deal that had previously been marred with delays, in part due to a bitter feud between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his political rival Abdullah Abdullah.

Political turmoil in Kabul dogs negotiations with Taliban
Political turmoil in Kabul dogs negotiations with Taliban
  • World
  • 2020-03-27 11:07:34Z

After months of deliberation, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday announced his 21-member team to negotiate peace with the Taliban, only to have his political opponent reject it as not inclusive enough. Afghanistan's political turmoil has impeded each tentative step toward negotiations with the Taliban - negotiations that are supposed to come next under a peace deal that Washington signed with the insurgents last month. The deal calls for the eventual withdrawal of all 13,000 U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan in exchange for guarantees from the Taliban to fight other militant groups, including the Islamic State group.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America