Tuesday, September 5, 2006
From boston.com: World-leading opium cultivation rose a "staggering" 59 percent in Afghanistan this year, the UN antidrugs chief announced yesterday in urging the government to crack down on large traffickers and remove corrupt officials and police.
The record crop yielded 6,100 tons of opium, or enough to make 610 tons of heroin -- outstripping the demand of the world's heroin users by a third, according to UN figures.
Officials warned that the illicit trade is undermining the Afghan government, which is under attack by Islamic militants that a US-led offensive helped drive from power in late 2001. "The news is very bad. On the opium front today in some of the provinces of Afghanistan, we face a state of emergency," Antonio Maria Costa, chief of the U N Office on Drugs and Crime, said at a news conference. "In the southern provinces, the situation is out of control." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]