KABUL (Reuters) - The intelligence service of opium-plagued Afghanistan has sacked 65 officers after discovering they were addicted to heroin, the agency’s head said on Tuesday.
The announcement camed weeks after the United Nations said Afghanistan, which is responsible for producing at least 80 percent of the world’s opium, risked becoming a “narco state” due to a jump in poppy production over the last year.
“We have sacked 65 employees who were addicted to heroin and our efforts will continue,” the acting head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Rahmatullah Nabil, told parliament.
The men were discovered under a project designed to weed out drug users from the NDS ranks, Nabil said. The program began in Kabul but will soon be expanded to NDS staff across all of the country’s 34 provinces.
He did not state over what period the sackings occurred and attempts to contact him and NDS spokesmen were unsuccessful.
The attempt to rid the agency of drug addicts will be welcomed by the international community, which has been fighting a 12-year war against al Qaeda and a Taliban-led insurgency, but is increasingly expecting Afghanistan’s security forces to shoulder the burden.
NATO-led international forces are beginning to scale down their presence in Afghanistan ahead of the mission’s end next year.
Reporting by Jawed Farzad and Mirwais Harooni; Writing by Dylan Welch; Editing by Nick Macfie