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The Collective
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: BBC NEWS | South Asia | Afghan opium production ’soars’

Opium production in Afghanistan is soaring out of control, the annual UN report on illegal drugs says.

The World Drug Report says more than 90% of illegal opium, which is used to make heroin, comes from Afghanistan.

It says cultivation of opium poppies increased dramatically in the country, despite the presence of more than 30,000 international troops there.

The report says Afghanistan is unlikely to regain real security until the production of illegal drugs is tackled.

And that makes for a bleak forecast for Afghanistan, as the US and its allies are seeking to apply the same basic policies that have been used to combat coca cultivation in Colombia to the poppy problem in Afghanistan. Indeed, the new ambassador to Afghanistan, William Wood, was previously the ambassador to Colombia.

Given the utter lack of success in controlling the cultivation of coca, let along the amount of cocaine produced in the Andes, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to control the cultivation of opium poppies in Afghanistan. (On the topic of coca cultivation, there is an excellent column translated from El Tiempo over at Plan Colombia and Beyond that I had meant to note several days ago. While I am not sanguine about the policy recommendations it makes, the basic assessment of the problem is spot on).

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Filed under: War on Drugs, Afghanistan | |

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