Thursday, August 17, 2006

Afghan opium cultivation hits a record

Opium cultivation in Afghanistan has hit record levels — up by more than 40 percent from 2005 — despite hundreds of millions in counternarcotics money, Western officials told The Associated Press.






The increase could have serious repercussions for an already grave security situation, with drug lords joining the Taliban-led fight against Afghan and international forces.

A Western anti-narcotics official in Kabul said about 370,650 acres of opium poppy was cultivated this season — up from 257,000 acres in 2005 — citing their preliminary crop projections. The previous record was 323,700 acres in 2004, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

Here