Despite billions of dollars having been spent on counter-narcotics measures in the past decade, there have been few visible effects on production or cultivation. Meanwhile, addiction levels among Afghans have risen sharply.
Afghanistan’s opium production has risen by an estimated 43% this year, the UN has said.
The annual increase on 2015 levels was due in part to estimated growth of 10% in the area under cultivation, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said, from 183,000 to 201,000 hectares. The UNODC said estimated opium production in 2016 was 4,800 tons, underscoring a “worrying reversal” in efforts to combat problems associated with illegal drugs.
The statistics represent the third-highest level of cultivation in Afghanistan in two decades, following record highs in 2013 and 2014. Eradication efforts in Afghanistan appear to have collapsed, with 355 hectares of poppy elimination carried out this year, a 91% decline on 2015.