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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


March 05, 2003

US 'Victory': Afghan Heroin Production Up 18x Over 2001 Levels

'Afghanistan retakes heroin crown' (3/03/03 - BBC)

Afghanistan retook its place as the world's leading producer of heroin last year, after US-led forces overthrew the Taliban which had banned cultivation of opium poppies. The finding was made in a key drug report, distributed in Kabul on March 2 by the US State Department, which supports almost identical findings by the United Nations the week before.

The UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Strategy Report, released on February 26, said that Afghanistan produced 3,400 tons last year, up from 185 tons in 2001 — more than 18 times as much. The report also said the area of land used to cultivate opium poppies has reached 30,750 hectares, compared with 1,685 hectares in 2001. ...Despite its own figures showing the Taliban had cut Afghanistan's heroin production by about 95%, the report claimed that heroin had "financed the former Taliban regime".

Afghanistan has now overtaken Burma — whose production fell for the sixth straight year, to 630 tons (a little more than 1/5 of Afghanistan's current levels) — as the leading opium producer.

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