Recently, a video of a woman in an Afghan refugee camp using and sharing drugs with her children went viral on social media platforms, sparking anew the debate on the seemingly unsolvable Afghan drug problem. Apart from being a nation that exports drugs, Afghanistan now has a ballooning population of drug addicts. Recent estimates suggest that 1.6 million out of a population of 35 million are addicted to opiates with little to no rehabilitation available.

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This is a figure that should worry the region and international powers. The country was already infamous for producing 90 percent of the world’s opiates even when NATO forces were present in the region and spending heavily on eradication; but with the funding pulled from the country and the Taliban back in control of large tracts of land, the war against drugs is steadily being lost.

The province of Helmand produces two thirds of Afghanistan’s opium, and was the frontline of the war on drugs. But according to the Ministry of Counter Narcotics, it will not be conducting any eradication mission. With the Taliban in full control of five of Helmand Province’s 14 districts, and more than half of its territory, any such attempt is impossible.

Weak institutions such as the police and widespread corruption make drug control difficult even in areas that are under Afghan control. Opiates are not just produced by a group that needs to be eradicated by the government apparatus, in many ways; they fund the apparatus and the personnel within them.

While most nations are content to patrol their borders, Afghanistan, and its immediate neighbours suffer. Iran and Pakistan, just like Afghanistan, have a large population of opium addicts – most of whom are left to fend for themselves.

These numbers are growing and the world needs to pay attention; the Afghan war may be over but the war is being waged, and lost on all other fronts.