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Drug use in Afghanistan is at an all-time high. With NATO forces withdrawing and local law enforcement authorities having little to no funding, the poppy fields are thriving. In this documentary, 101 East investigates how Afghan authorities are fighting to regulate the return of poppy farming, the ramifications of the global war on drugs, and what the future holds for this vulnerable nation. Fortunately, there is one woman in Kabul who works endlessly to help addicts.

Laila Haidari founded “Mother Camp”, a rehabilitation centre devoted to helping hundreds of people recover from addiction and connecting them with support groups. She devotes her life to this underserved group, trying to convince them to stop using drugs, spending hours a day counselling, consoling, and keeping the peace.

Published in 2015

Viewing Time: 25 minutes


“Afghanistan is in the grips of a drug epidemic many say is far more dangerous than the Taliban. These fields now supply 90% of the world’s heroin and authorities appear unable or unwilling to stop those behind this multi-billion dollar drug trafficking industry.”

“Under a bridge in the capital of Kabul, we witness the human toll illicit drugs are having on the country. It’s a scene of abject misery. While heroin is grown and produced here and is mostly trafficked out of the country, increasingly Afghan’s themselves are falling prey to it. Latest studies estimate there are now 2.9 million drug users in Afghanistan, the highest per capita in the world.”

“Few dare to go under the bridge, but Mama furiously wages into the crowds. There’s probably about a thousand under this overpass and the smell is a mix of human feces and garbage, and Mama comes here all the time.”

“It’s filthy down there and people get all kinds of diseases. They also die of the cold and of overdoses, it’s just not fit for humans to live there.”

Laila Haidari in Afghanistan War on Drugs Documentary about Poppy Fields, Addiction, and Drug Trafficking

“They are human beings and I want to fight for them. For as long as I’m alive, I will work to help people overcome their addiction.”


“In 2014, farmers here cultivated a record 224,000 hectares of poppy. We’ve come back this spring to gauge whether this year is going to bring yet another record harvest. Government warnings against growing the crop are everywhere, but the deeper into the countryside we go, the less control Afghan authorities have.”

“Poppy guarantees cash in your hands. You make 10 times more with the drug than with other crops. It means I don’t need to be in debt and can feed my family of 10. The money we make isn’t huge like people think. We borrow cash for the seeds and, in the end, we earn only a few hundred dollars per acre.”

“Faysal Ramam blames years of war and instability and says for poor farmers like himself only poppy brings in the profits. For more than a decade, these agricultural areas of the South have been the scene of intense battles. NATO troops fought a fierce ground war among these rural compounds against the Taliban. Markets and crops were destroyed, leaving farmers with few ways to support their families.”

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Afghanistan’s War on Drugs

Laila Haidari

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