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Transmission

Afghan Authorities Stop Going Soft On Viagra

Afghan authorities estimate that millions of Viagra pills are illicitly smuggled into the country every year.
Afghan authorities estimate that millions of Viagra pills are illicitly smuggled into the country every year.
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Afghanistan's reputation as a haven for drug smugglers is well known.

But while it is normally opium and its derivative substances that grab all the headlines, it seems that a little blue pill is now causing the authorities serious concern.

Viagra, a well-known erectile dysfunction drug, has long been in demand in the country.

Such is its popularity the CIA has in the past been known to use the medicament as an enticement for tribal leaders to pass on information about Taliban movements.

Now, however, it seems the little love philter is so prevalent it has become a major headache for the government in Kabul.

The Afghan Health Ministry has recently issued warnings about the potentially dangerous nonprescription use of Viagra.

According to the BBC, up to 2 million pills can be legally imported into Afghanistan each year, but ministry officials believe at least 4 million pills are being consumed nationwide.

Indeed, given the notoriously porous nature of Afghanistan's borders, some believe that the number of tablets that are flooding into the country could be even higher.

As Afghanistan only has an estimated adult male population of 9 million, it seems that demand for Viagra is exceedingly high.

Why Afghan men appear to have such a pressing need for the aphrodisiac has been the source of some speculation.

One BBC correspondent suggested that 34 years of almost continuous war in the country could be one of the causes. It's well known that residing in conflict zones can give rise to a whole host of psychological problems, which can have a concomitant impact on sexual performance.

Some have also pointed to the fact that Afghan men can have as many as four, often younger, wives at any given time. It's little wonder, therefore, that the little blue diamonds might help maintain domestic harmony in many households.

Whatever the reasons for its popularity, it seems the Afghan Health Ministry's warnings about Viagra have so far fallen on deaf ears.

When a reporter from the BBC's Dari Service visited an open-air market in Kabul, he found that merchants were still doing a very brisk trade in the tablets.
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by: khalid alakozai from: kabul
June 21, 2012 02:37
shoudnt afghanistans male population be 12-14 million?
In Response

by: Moderator
June 21, 2012 08:39
Thanks for the query. The figure refers to the ADULT male population. There is presumably no demand for Viagra among the non-adult male population. The blog in question cites the following BBC report as a source for this information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00s4720
In Response

by: khalid alakozai from: kabul
June 21, 2012 23:38
haha, i didnt even think about that! thanks for the confirm...

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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