Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Lost Opium War

Afghan opium cultivation has reached a record level, with more than 200,000 hectares planted with the poppy for the first time, the United Nations says. The  report said the harvest was 36% up on last year, and if fully realised would outstrip global demand. Afghanistan produces more than 90% of the world's opium. The report said the total area planted with poppies rose from 154,000 to 209,000 hectares,

The head of the UN office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Kabul, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, said that production was likely to rise again next year. He said that the illegal economy was taking over in importance from legitimate business, and that prices remained high since there was a ready availability of cash in Afghanistan because of aid.

Most of the rise was in Helmand province, where British troops are stationed. Half of the cultivation area is in Helmand province. Meanwhile two northern provinces which had previously been declared poppy-free - Faryab and Balkh - lost that status.

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