Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, July 06, 2007

Afghan town sees increase in widows

A small village in Afghanistan, Bunyat, has been dubbed the “widows village,” The Associated Press reported Monday. Bunyat, which lies on the border with Iran, is home to 1,000 families and 350 widows.

The high number of male causalities in the village is the legacy of both the years of war in Afghanistan and the lucrative business of drug smuggling. As violence and instability persists, many Afghans are turning to the trafficking of opium and heroin to provide for their families.

“Most of the young people in this village smuggle drugs,” Mohammad, a smuggler, said. “These people are poor. There is no water here. They can't grow anything, so they have to smuggle drugs.” The business of smuggling brings in about $200 a pound for the trafficker; a sum of money that far exceeds the $70 a month earned by teachers and police officers. Mohammad claims that smugglers commonly carry 20 to 40 pounds of concentrated heroin for a profit of $8,000.

The smuggling of Afghan heroin has led to a dramatic rise in addictions among Iranians, leading the Iranian police to actively pursue traffickers. While the stated Iranian policy is to simply detain smugglers, many confrontations lead to violence.

For the full article, click here.

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