Charity No. 1130232
020 8804 3561

Opium Production in Afghanistan

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The link between poppies and war in Afghanistan – How we can help

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.’ Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided” (Q. 2:155-157).

In each combat, unseen actors make their powerful moves behind the scenes. Sometimes, like a chain reaction, poverty leads to desperate measures that only lead, in turn, to more poverty.

This is how the massive opium production in Afghanistan started, only to jump from around 180 tonnes in 2001 to more than 3,000 tonnes a year after the invasion, and to more than 8,000 by 2007. Each year, opium production funds a new wave of guerrilla fighters.

Afghanistan is known to secure 90% of the world’s opium production.

The good news is that, by understanding what fuels the industry, we can help break the cycle of opium production.

How poverty contributes to this drug industry

War conditions might be favourable to opium production as crops require little investment, are fast growing and easily transportable. However, the most important agent in opium production is poverty. Fields left barren by the war and years of draught are forcing Afghan villagers to turn to illegal opium trade as their only means of living.

War orphans and disabled children are forced to give up school and start begging or do menial jobs for a living. Widows are left with no choice sometimes but to send their children to work early, so they can support big families of four to five children on average. This creates a cycle that perpetuates beyond future generations.

The only way out of this cycle of poverty and opium production is through building a better economy for Afghanistan, so people can afford food and farmers can grow it. At Aryana Aid, we believe empowering widows and orphans is an economic necessity.

In Islam, mothers are an important pillar of education for the future generations. Like Aisha, Mother of the Believers, they are inspiring faith into their communities. By empowering widows in Afghanistan, we are creating a sustainable solution for generations to come.

Orphans are also a primary concern.

In a sacred Hadith, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Bring the orphan close to you, pat his head, and feed him with the same food you eat. It will soften your heart and fulfil your need.”

Apart from our religious duty towards orphans, our sponsorships will give them access to education, which means they will become, in time, important pillars of the society, safe from abuse and having to beg for food.

Water for life. Water for agriculture.

Water is very important for agriculture. However, only 13% of Afghans have access to clean, pure water. If we want to help ease the opium production, we need to consider building more wells and water tanks to support agriculture in rural areas.

Last year, Aryana Aid have installed 5 tube wells and 25 water pumps to help restore the lives of numerous communities in Afghanistan.

Many children who had had to carry heavy buckets of water from far water sources back to their families were relieved to use that time to go to school instead. Water is a gift for their health, time, and future.

Sadaqah Jariyah

Sadaqah Jariyah is a beautiful gift that keeps on giving. We are empowering communities to learn how to sustain themselves. Your donations have an impact on the entire future of a society and Allah (swt) rewards this ongoing charity each time someone benefits from your one act of kindness.

As Muslims, we have this delightful form of charity for a reason: we know that life can only exist within a community. Consistency, continuity, and self-sustainability are the way out for Afghanistan from the vicious circle of drug production.

When we understand the opium industry as a consequence of poverty, we also understand how to tackle it. By raising levels of education and skills, providing clean water, empowering widow families and orphans, we give people better jobs and better futures, so we are slowly tackling the need for opium production in order to escape hunger.

The smallest change can have a gigantic impact. From individuals to communities. From small stories to national events. From one single gift to thousands of generations of beneficiaries.

“O People, regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your LORD, and that HE will indeed reckon your deeds” (The last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad).

Aryana Aid’s Impact

At Aryana Aid, we have been improving the lives of poor Afghans, widows, and orphans for 19 years. Our projects range from emergency relief to long-term sustainability through orphan sponsorships, widow empowerment schemes and water and electricity projects. We are a volunteer led charity and use our first-hand knowledge of Afghan local communities and culture to provide help where it is most needed.

One of our greatest achievements this year has been distributing wheelchairs to 350 Afghan disabled children and building 25 new water pumps and many electric tube wells across Afghanistan.

Find out more and donate to our causes.


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We work with the local Afghan community to deliver emergency aid and long term sustainability through our orphan sponsorship, widow skills training, and water and electricity projects.
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