Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Peace Trip from Afghanistan (Golden Crescent) to Thailand (Golden Triangle)

My trip started from Khogyani district, Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan.  The eastern region of Afghanistan suffers from opium cultivation and free movement of insurgents along the border with the Pakistani tribal area, which has some similarities with Thailand’s former conflicts, especially opium.

Opium mainly destroys two areas, first where it is produced and second its destination.  Farmers who cultivate opium face a lot of challenges which results in addiction of farmers and their families, fueling conflict, and destabilizing the area to make access difficult for government and counter narcotics groups.  In areas where opium is grown there is no security and in areas where there is no security there are no development projects.  Therefore, there are no roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals and as a result locals suffer.

Mustafa Pic 1Border between Afghanistan and Iran through which most of the opium transmitted to the world market, in Nimroz Province of Afghanistan.

Opium, before reaching its destination, kills and injures hundreds of souls on its trip.  Afghanistan located at the heart of golden crescents produces ninety percent of the world opium and most of this travels through Iran.  Afghanistan has about nine hundred kilometers of border with Iran.  Drug traffickers use different means of transport for moving opium to Iran and they rarely face resistance of  Iranian security personnel because they bribe officials to close their eyes and let opium pass the border without any resistance.  Finally, when it reaches its destination in far eastern or western countries, there it creates a disturbance in peaceful communities and draws a negative picture of Afghanistan and its people.

Mustafa Pic 2Golden Triangle, Border between Thailand, LAOS and Myanmar.

I learned a lot in Thailand from Fellows, professors, and Thai experiences.  In the golden triangle, the Thai government introduced alternative crops and they successfully eradicated opium.  In Afghanistan, we tried similar alternatives to substitute for opium, but we were not successful.  Opium is still cultivated and fueling conflict in Afghanistan and is one of the main financial supporters of anti government activities in the country and in the outside world.  In last fifteen years, the Afghan government and international communities were unable to eradicate opium.  Therefore I recommend to legalize it and use it in medicine, as it has been done in other opium producing countries.

Mohammad Mustafa Hatam, Afghanistan
Rotary Peace Fellow
June 2015 Session


9 comments on “Peace Trip from Afghanistan (Golden Crescent) to Thailand (Golden Triangle)

  1. Richard C Pendry
    July 29, 2015

    Mustafa, This is a very inciteful article of opium and its impact on Afghanistan as well as the countries in which it is sold. In my recent reseach I have found that the recent opium crop in Afghanistan is the biggest ever, its increase due in part to a geneticaly modified plant which allows for bigger yields. After all the money that has been spent on iradication within the country by ISAF & NATO, I’m therefore amazed how this is possible. Do you think that there is a lack of resolve within the Western powers to actually eradicate it, and if so why?

  2. Naveed Ahmad
    July 29, 2015

    thanks to Mustafa Hatam to prepared such interesting and beneficial topic on opium. really it was to much good as I can say you have prepared your topic on opium as you describe the history of opium…
    thanks and wish you provide more interesting topics such as this one..

  3. Ahmad Mukhtar Amiri
    July 29, 2015

    Your opinion is admirable brother!
    Legalization of opium will only benefit Afghanistan on security, stability and prosperity aspects but those who internationally benefit from its illicit, will be paralyzed by economic means.

  4. Eamal Arman
    July 30, 2015

    Dear Mustafa Ustad, I am glad to your see your personal and professional progress. You are really hard working and studios young professional. A bright and prosperous future is yourself. You have great potential to serve Afghan nation. I wish you further great success in your personal and professional endeavors. Thanks Eamal Arman

  5. Ali Ahmad "Shams"
    July 30, 2015

    Dear Hatam Saihb.
    Your collection regarding opium cultivation is highly appreciated, and it is the fact that this killing option is being experienced since long away in our territory & region.
    To be honest, there is no any proven alternative given to the formers from the Government and & other donners site, what Afghan government and other donners are trying is not fully enough to satisfy the hunger and poorness of Afghanistan eastern regions formers and tribal residential.
    This program or other relevance programs regarding awareness of opium cultivation, which gives chances to decent and courteous people are very helpful for Afghanistan.
    You and others who are working or struggling for this prosperous vison is appreciated and you are peace ambassadors of Afghanistan.

  6. Kalimullah Rahmani
    July 30, 2015

    The recommendation you have made is a good suggestion. In my opinion, it is almost impossible to stop all the farmers in Afghanistan from not cultivating the opium be it because of the insecurity, but it has other reasons as well. The lack of resources is one of them. This means, that the farmers do not have access to the standard seeds of different plants, foods and other stuff to grow, so they are compelled to grow this poisonous plant. Another reason can be the poverty of the Afghan farmers. Through opium they can make money to make their life. If the government or international donors want to eliminate or at least decrease the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan, they should support the farmers with money, training, workshops, seeds and aggregation tools. I am agree with you, if you cannot stop opium from growing or cultivation, then make it legalize and use it in medicine. This will not only help the farmers, but it will also help the government to be stabilized economically.

    with all due respect

    Kalimullah Rahmani

  7. mujib ur Rehman hamdard
    July 30, 2015

    it is one of the central issue in Afghansitan perspective . the opium has become nightmare in Afghanistan . the whole international communiyt , Afghan Governments and other agencies who have stake in it trying for long to eradicate opium from Afghansitan. but as much as all these agencies struggling , opium cultivation are growing more and more . Actually there are some Mafia circles from both international community and Afghan Government . They have their interest and stake in opium. they dont want to eradicate it becasue it will harm thier business and income . their interest ahve mades these areas to be trible where there is no government , no law ,rules and regulation. they indirectly provide opportunity and support to the opium growers.As a result these areas are not only safe havens for opoium grower but for anti government fihgters, robbers , decoits etc who when committ crimes takes asylem in these areas. it has also casued enmity among groups and people and have lead to destabilize social set up. shortly we can say that opium cutivation have created insecuiruty , lawlessness , enmity and so many other social and political instability through out the country. A few mafia groups are benefitted from all other folks are harming form this .

  8. Dawajan Ahmadzai
    July 30, 2015

    it is very interesting topic, the main issue why the opium and other drugs cultivation are increasing in Afghanistan is that there is high demand of these items in European and American markets.
    you mentioned in your topic that the the Afghan government and international communities were unable to eradicate opium in Afghanistan, but I don’t think that the international communities want to reduce it, they opened market for it out side from Afghanistan and they are buying from Afghans on high amount, if they close their market non from the Afghans will be welling to cultivate it, there is no demand of Opium in Afghanistan and no one will be welling to cultivate it.

  9. Fary Moini
    August 27, 2015

    Dear Hatam,,After reading your article and your suggestion , drugs are a huge problem all over the western as well as developing countries for so many different reasons:
    1-Rich use it for fun and entertaining, because they are board and do not know the meaning of being happy……………….ignorance
    2-Poor use it to forget their miserable life instead of finding solution. for example less children……………ignorance
    3-Also, it is based on the demand & supply for bunch of greedy who wanted to be rich fast and these are the filthy, low class, mafia and terrorist type who dose not care about anything except their filthy habits.
    I agree with you legalize it to cut the hand of those animals who supply it, educate the youth the harm they cause on their family , their own physical and emotional state. And number one issue in the developing country is LACK OF JOB & SECURITY ……………………Great article. My Rotary club & I are very proud of you and hope upon your return you will make a difference.Best wishes

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