Afghan Opium Pro­duc­tion

Southasia - - BRIEFING -

Ac­cord­ing to Head of the US Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion Michele Leon­hart, Afghanistan will have to de­cide how to com­bat drug traf­fick­ing fol­low­ing the US mil­i­tary forces withdrawal from the coun­try in 2014. Al­though there are a num­ber of op­tions on the ta­ble, the Afghan peo­ple and the govern­ment will need to make the fi­nal de­ci­sion and fol­low the best ap­proach.

Lately, Afghanistan, which is the largest opium pro­ducer in the world, ex­pe­ri­enced a rise in opium plan­ta­tion and, ac­cord­ing to UN es­ti­mates, there are nearly 154,000 hectares of land ded­i­cated to opium cul­ti­va­tion in the coun­try. The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity be­lieves that even if the de­ci­sion rests with the Afghan govern­ment, for­eign in­volve­ment would also be needed to over­see opium pro­duc­tion to en­sure that it doesn’t fall in the wrong hands.

In ad­di­tion, the Afghan drug trade was one of the key top­ics dur­ing the three-day 30th In­ter­na­tional Drug En­force­ment Con­fer­ence in Moscow. Rus­sia’s anti-drug ser­vice, how­ever, has called on the UN to look at Afghan drug-traf­fick­ing as an in­ter­na­tional threat that will jus­tify a for­eign in­ter­ven­tion when US troops leave the coun­try. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished by the UN Of­fice on Drugs and Crime, nearly a quar­ter of the heroin pro­duced in Afghanistan -- 90 tonnes out of 380 -- passes through Cen­tral Asia, 75 per­cent of which is des­tined for the Rus­sian mar­ket.

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