Monday, August 27, 2007

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan?)

h/t TPM:

The production of opium in Afghanistan has "soared to frightening record levels," according to a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released in Kabul Monday.

Production levels of opium, from which the class A drug heroin is manufactured, are expected to reach 8,200 tons in 2007, up from 6,100 tons in 2006.

The amount of land used for the production of opium has also increased to 193,000 hectares from 165,000 in 2006, the report said.

Afghanistan is now responsible for 93 per cent of global opium production, according to the UNODC.

"The amount of Afghan land used for growing opium is now larger than the combined total under coca cultivation in Latin America - Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.

"No other country has produced narcotics on such a deadly scale since China in the 19th century," the report said.

The UNODC report highlighted differences between the relatively drug-free north and the "lawless" south of the country, where 80 per cent of the opium poppies were now being grown.

Opium production rose by 48 per cent in Helmand alone, the most volatile area of the country where the rebel Taliban are strong, making the province the world's biggest source of illegal drugs, the UNODC report said.

The province of 2.5 million people was producing more drugs than Colombia, the report said.

The Taliban was using funds from drug production to finance its insurgency.

Pay no attention to the terrorist behind the curtain.

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