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Poppy, opium harvest up again: new survey

Poppy, opium harvest up again: new survey

Nov 12, 2014 - 20:17

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok):  Poppy cultivation rose by seven percent and opium production by 17 percent in Afghanistaninfo-icon this year, a new survey released on Wednesday said.

The survey was jointly coducted by the Ministry of Counternarcotics and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The study shows 224 hectares of land was brought under poppy cultivation in 2014 compared with 209 hectares in 2013.

It found 6,400 tonnes of opium were produced this year against 5,500 tonnes a year ago.

Acting Counternarcotics Minister Mubariz Rashedi said the separation of counter-narcotics effort from the counter-terrorism strategy was a major strategic mistake by the Afghan government and the international community.

Rashedi said 89 percent poppy cultivation was recorded in nine southern provinces, with Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar and Farah topping the list.

He said one of the main reasons behind insurgency in Afghanistan and a fragile government’s writ had been the huge money earned through opium trade.

“Afghanistan and the international community have committed a major strategic mistake by not including the counter-narcotics effort in their counter-terrorism strategy over the past 13 years,” he said, adding that there was no distinction between drugs and terrorism.

UNODC regional representative Andrey Avetisyan said the new survey was a warning to strategists to cope with the increasing drug problem in Afghanistan.

He said without dealing with the menace, there would be no economic prosperity in Afghanistan and hoped the issue would also be raised at the London Conference to be held two weeks later.



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