IRS |Institute of Regional Studies


Contemporary Regional Developments in Afghanistan

7th March - 13th March
  • Afghanistan stares at health crisis with 1 million female drug addicts, 100,000 children hooked: Afghanistan is staring at a massive public health crisis with more than three million drug addicts, a million of whom are women and 100,000 of whom are children below 10 years of age, reported the country's Tolo News.
  • In fact, the total number of those addicted in the war-ravaged country could be a lot higher than three million, because when that number was calculated last year, public health officials had no idea that so many women were also hooked. As it is, Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of poppy opium, which is used to make heroin. And far from its production declining, the UN says that opium production in the country actually rose 87% in 2017 from 2016. The increase is attributed to a rapid expansion of territory used to cultivate poppy, no thanks to the Taliban which profits from the crop and encourages its cultivation.
  • The women in the country more often than not pick up the habit from the men in their families. Several women told Tolo News they turned to drugs as their husbands were addicts.
  • "I took on drug as my husband was using at home," said Naznin, an Afghan woman who didn't give her last name. In fact, Reuters news agency reported in 2012 that Afghanistan's female narcotics problem had begun to fill the country's largest women's prison, Badam Bagh or "Almond Orchard", on the outskirts of Kabul.
    (Times of India; 13.3.2018) Pentagon chief Mattis arrives in Afghanistan, discusses reconciliation with the Taliban.
    (Washington Post, 13.3.2018)
28th February - 06th March
  • In Feb, 2018, nearly 1,400 people have been killed and wounded in 153 attacks in Afghanistan last month showed a 32 percent decline in the number of casualties compared to January.
    (Pajwokh News, 05.03.2018)
  • Afghan policemen kidnapped in Taliban bus attack
    Taliban fighters have killed at least six policemen in an attack on a checkpoint and kidnapped dozens of bus passengers in two separate incidents in southern Afghanistan, officials said. A group of fighters wearing army uniforms kidnapped 30 people, including 19 policemen, after stopping a bus on Tuesday night at the border between Kandahar and Uruzgan provinces. "There were civilians in the bus as well and we are trying to identify the people kidnapped in the attack," Qudratullah Khushbakht, a spokesman for the Kandahar governor, told Al Jazeera.
    (Aljazeera, 1.3.2018)
  • Afghan president offers to recognise the Taliban
    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has offered to recognise the Taliban as a legitimate political group, as part of a proposed process he said could lead to talks aimed at ending more than 16 years of war. Ghani's offer on Wednesday, made at the start of an international conference aimed at creating a platform for peace talks, adds to a series of signals from both the Western-backed government and the Taliban suggesting a greater willingness to consider dialogue. Ghani proposed a ceasefire and prisoner release as part of a range of options, including new elections involving the armed group, and a constitutional review as part of a pact with the Taliban.
    (Aljazeera, 28.02.2018)