Abby Martin takes a look at a shocking statistic that puts opium production in Afghanistan at a record high, and puts into perspective the different corporate interests that could be keeping US forces in Afghanistan well beyond 2014.
Despite efforts to curb Afghan’s opium culture, cultivation has hit record levels as NATO forces prepare to exit the country. The UN warned warlords may be the biggest benefactor of the situation.
The report, the Afghanistan Opium Survey for 2013, provides little cause for optimism among countries that have witnessed a surge in incidences of heroin abuse among their populace since US-led forces started a military offensive against the Taliban on Afghan soil in 2001.
Afghanistan, long the world’s main heroin supplier, has seen its total area of poppy seed plantations explode to 516,000 acres – a 36 percent increase from 2012, according to the report, released on Wednesday.
Last year, the war-torn Central Asian country accounted for 75 percent of the world’s opium supplies; Jean-Luc Lemahieu, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Afghanistan, has said in the past that supplies may reach 90 percent of the global total this year.
The new data surpasses the previous record set in 2007, when 477,000 acres were cultivated, according to the UN drug watchdog. Total opium output is estimated at 5,500 tons, up 49 percent from 3,700 tons in 2012.
Source: RT News
Also see: Opium Cultivation in Afghanistan Soars to Record | UK poppy-growing program kept hush-hush