Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is expected to soar by 59% this year, providing 92% of the world's supply of opium, the United Nations says. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime predicts a 6,100-tonne harvest of opium, with much of the rise coming in Taliban strongholds in the south.
The US is the main backer of a huge drive to rid Afghanistan of opium. But a top US drugs official warned Saturday that Afghanistan could be "taken down by this whole drug problem". The $2.7bn drugs trade accounts for about a third of Afghanistan's economy. The simple fact is that Afghanistan is increasingly hooked on its own drug.
This has occurred because in the northeast warlords and weak government are to blame, the. Granted public opinion is increasingly frustrated by the fact that opium cultivation in Afghanistan is out of control, but for farmers poppy crops buy the food. And here is the rub. The political, military and economic investments by coalition countries, investments that were to support the Afghan population, in essence, prevent this very problem from occurring, is not having a visible impact on drug cultivation.
President Karzai must make significant arrests and convictions using the judiciary that the coalition had helped train and establish. This is one reason why the massive program to destroy poppies and offer help to farmers to grow alternative crops that has been under way for two years has had little effect. It is hoped that effective action by the President Karzai will help control this problem and in time destroy it altogether.