The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, July 03, 2006

Afghanistan producing record crops of poppies

Afghanistan remains the forgotten war in this country, ever since troops and money were shifted over to the disastrous invasion of Iraq without having completed the objectives in Afghanistan. And three years later, the situation there is worsening amid reports that the Taliban is re-emerging as a sizable and organized force.

Military officers are fearful the $1bn (£540m) a year campaign to eradicate the drug is helping pull in recruits for the Taliban.

"The trends indicate that the area of cultivation will be considerably higher than in 2004," said a representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which will publish its annual report of the Afghan opium harvest next month.

In 2004, about 130,000 hectares of opium poppy was cultivated, which has been the largest so far, despite poor growing conditions that year. Better conditions across the country this year will help produce the largest tonnage of opium ever. But Afghanistan is already responsible for about 87 per cent of the world's opium and more than 90 per cent of the heroin consumed in Britain.