By Ron F | According to UN figures, in the 2000 growing season opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan covered 82,000 hectares. (1)
Following a ban ruthlessly enforced by the Taliban opium cultivation declined to 8,000 hectares in the following year, according to the same reporting agency. Much of this remaining opium cultivation was carried out in areas not under Taliban control, but by our friends in the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, who you’ve probably never heard of because they have been rebranded as the Northern Alliance.
According to a just released UN report opium cultivation now stands at – wait – for – it –
193,000 hectares (2)
This is the largest *ever* recorded and more than double the highest cultivation rate recorded when the Taliban were in power.
That’s quite an achievement after seven years of an occupation partly predicated on “reducing the supply of heroin”.
(2) UNODOC 2008 World Drug Report (pdf)