Thursday, November 18, 2004

Bumper Crop

The United Nations reports that opium production is booming in Afghanistan. The country accounts for 87 percent of global opium production, up from 76 percent last year. Here's a bit of what the New York Times says about the situation:

Heroin production is booming in Afghanistan, undermining democracy and putting money in the coffers of terrorists, according to a U.N. report Thursday that called on U.S. and NATO-led forces get more involved in fighting drug traffickers.

"Fighting narcotics is equivalent to fighting terrorism," said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. "It would be an historical error to abandon Afghanistan to opium, right after we reclaimed it from the Taliban and al-Qaida."

The drug trade accounts for a staggering 60 percent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product.

The full report (Afghanistan Opium Survey, 2004) is available here.