news. opium & afghanistan? did you know?

7 January 2011, Comments 0

did you know that Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium????

i think i heard that somewhere before but didn’t realize just how big / how much they actually produce.

opium is a raw material harvested from poppies to make heroin, as well as alkaloids like codeine and morphine. according to two cables released by WikiLeaks, Afghanistan’s supply of opium exceeds the world’s demand for heroin, with its unsold stock currently totaling 12,400 tons.

as reported on, Taliban-linked drug cartels emerging along the southern border of the country, where 99% of production takes place, influence the majority of poppy cultivation by coercing farmers into growing the crops for a strong and well-supplied insurgency. Efforts by the United Nations (UN), the US military and the Indian government to curb opium production in Afghanistan since 2007 have been largely ineffective, due in large part to the ties between the drug trade and the Taliban.

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