Rising opium cultivation in Afghanistan

A REPORT by UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has revealed that Afghanistan saw a 10% jump in opium cultivation this year because of bumper harvests, with eradication efforts collapsing due to growing insecurity and declining international aid to combat drugs. The statistics represent the third highest level of cultivation in Afghanistan in more than two decades – after a record high in 2014 and 2013.
In the past, Washington had been telling the world that since the US led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the Golden Crescent opium trade soared and that Osama and Taliban, not to mention regional warlords, protected the lucrative contraband trade. However it is a historic fact that only period when opium production was effectively curbed in Afghanistan was the one when Taliban were in power as they effectively enforced the ban in 2000 in cooperation with the UN and opium production declined by 90% in 2001. The Taliban prohibition had indeed caused “the beginning of a heroin shortage in Europe by the end of 2001?, as acknowledged by the UNODC. The US also claimed that it launched the so-called operation ‘Containment’ but there are credible reports that one of the “hidden” objectives of the invasion of Afghanistan was to restore the CIA sponsored drug trade to its historical levels and exert direct control over the drug routes and that is why opium markets were restored, opium prices spiralled and by early 2002, the opium price was almost 10 times higher than in 2000. The fact that during its long occupation of Afghanistan, the US did not do anything to check drugs also confirms this viewpoint. Therefore, the US and other members of the global community should demonstrate sincerity in eradication of poppy cultivation and production of drugs in Afghanistan.

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