Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SIGAR - Poppy Cultivation Rises in Afghanistan

A report issued in October 2104 states that after a decade of reconstruction and over $7 billion in counter narcotics efforts, poppy cultivation levels in Afghanistan are at an all-time high. Afghan farmers grew an unprecedented 209,000 hectares of opium poppy in 2013, surpassing the previous peak of 193,000 hectares in 2007. Further increases in poppy cultivation is expected in 2014. The value of opium and its derivative products produced in Afghanistan rose from 2012 to 2013 by 50 per cent; and increase from $2 billion to $3 billion. Nangarhar province, once designated "poppy free" in 2008 saw an increase in poppy cultivation between 2012 and 2013. The former governor of Nangarhar, Gul Agha Sherzai, was not known for his anti-drug stance; in fact, he is well-known as a supporter and beneficiary of the drug trade. ISAF chose to ignore the criminal patronage network in the Nangarhar region as Sherzai was a political appointee of Hamid Karzai. See "Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan, 2012 and 2013", Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Report SIGAR-15-10-SP, October 2014.

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