News / Asia

UN: Afghanistan’s Opium Production Set to Spike

An Afghan boy looks from a poppy field as U.S. Marines patrol a village in the Golestan district of Farah province, May 5, 2009. (file photo)
An Afghan boy looks from a poppy field as U.S. Marines patrol a village in the Golestan district of Farah province, May 5, 2009. (file photo)
Kurt Achin

The United Nations department that monitors global drug trafficking says Afghanistan's opium production may rise by more than two-thirds this year.  In a new report, the U.N. warns the resulting increase in profits will translate into even more money to fund insurgent groups in the war-ravaged country.

The U.N.’s Office on Drugs and Crime says Afghan farmers of opium - the main ingredient in heroin - are expecting higher yields this year, as their fields recover from a crop disease that lowered supply last year.

Afghanistan was already supplying more than 80 percent of the world’s opium, but with speculation and market insecurity driving prices higher than ever, the U.N. report says even more areas within the country are being cultivated.

Afghanistan’s role in what the U.N. conservatively estimates to be a $66 billion world opium trade brings in up to $2 billion a year - nine percent of the country's gross domestic product.

The UNODC says at least one million Afghan families are affected by addiction to opium-related drugs, and the number is growing. Intravenous injection habits are reported to be fueling an epidemic of the AIDS-causing HIV virus in the country.

The UNODC's representative in Afghanistan, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, says the drug trade is destabilizing.  

“The production and trafficking of narcotics inhibits security … within Afghanistan, the region, and internationally," said Lemahieu. "We all are being burnt by the same flame.”

Lemahieu says insurgent groups, led by the Taliban and including the Haqqani network, keep a significant slice of the drug profits to fund their operations.

“You could argue that about 10 percent would go to the insurgents, or 200 million [dollars] … Potentially, the insurgents this year will make 700 million [dollars]," said Lemahieu.  

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan says it takes the drug and insurgency connection very seriously.

“Drugs are the biggest financer of the insurgents," said Brigadier General Carsten Jacobsen, a Kabul ISAF spokesman. "That has to be stopped, and we have made progress.  Only in the last three weeks, three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of drugs - found and destroyed.”

In its report, the United Nations has also urged Afghanistan’s neighbors - including Pakistan - to uproot networks on their side of the Afghan border that facilitate drug trafficking.  A major chunk of Afghanistan’s drug exports are smuggled through both Pakistan and Iran.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid