Afghan Opium Poppies Hit Record High Despite $7 Billion US Campaign

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NBC News

Opium poppy cultivation has hit an all-time high in Afghanistan despite a 10-year, $7.6 billion effort by the U.S. government to fight it, according to a new report.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan, who authored the report, warned Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Eric Holder and other top U.S. officials that the gap between expenditures and results should make them rethink their approach.  

“Given the severity of the opium problem and its potential to undermine U.S. objectives in Afghanistan,” said Special Inspector General John Sopko in a letter to the officials, “I strong suggest that your departments consider the trends in opium cultivation and the effectiveness of past counternarcotics efforts when planning future initiatives.”

According to SIGAR’s report, the value of the opium produced in Afghanistan reached $3 billion in 2013, a 50 percent increase from 2012, and is likely to increase still further in 2014. Some of the increase is due to the use of affordable “deep well” technology over the past decade to turn 200,000 hectares of former desert in southwestern Afghanistan into arable land. Some of the land is now being used to grow opium poppies.

Opium poppy cultivation is used to fund the Taliban and other insurgent groups and stokes corruption, says the report.

4 thoughts on “Afghan Opium Poppies Hit Record High Despite $7 Billion US Campaign

  1. What they really mean is a 10 year 7.6 billon dollar effort to guard it! Article should be featured on the Captin Kangaroo show.

    1. The US mil stayed there allowing the locals to recover thier fields and bolster them so they could return to full production of their crop. Consider this crop’s main use is for heroin, large amounts go into the US continually. Be it by the gov groups or private durggies this is why the US was in Afghan.

      Afghan top export is opium, think of them as Quatar who’s main export is oil, at 95%

      We could have really fixed up the drug problem in the US by wiping the crops…but that would not be nice…just fine for us to knock out sovergn nations leaders and bomb nations to Hell, np.

  2. My Fellow Americans:

    (…. a man standing at the podium addressing a large hall of people…)

    ….Ok,…. yes,.. I was happy to be there!!!! (crowd laughs…..)

    But seriously,.. lets bring up our next award recepients for, …… Entrepeneurs-Of-The-Year!!! (crowd claps wildly!!!)

    Look at what the CIA has done there in Afghanistan would you?,… I mean they took a small back-water country,… and have turned into a Mega-Powerhouse of opium production!!!! (… people clapping, whistling!!!….)

    I mean my God,… just looks at these numbers:

    209 THOUSAND,… HECTACRES!! ,….. thats over 500 THOUSAND ACRES of Opium grown in just 2013!!!!,… IS the CIA AMAZING OR WHAT??!!!!!

    That makes Afghanistan the producer of over 97% of all the illegal opium and herion on the planet!!!,.. Lets give these guys at the CIA a big warm hand of applause!!!! (…People clapping wildly,.. enthusiastically,… whistling, clapping,.. shouting!!!…)

    JD – US Marines – The only thing missing,… is an Awards Ceremony for the CIA’s stellar performance in growing the worlds supply of illegal opium and heroin.


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