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US sees raise in opium production in Afghanistan

AT Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Poppy cultivation declined but potential opium production increased in Afghanistan last year, says the United States. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said this in the US government’s annual estimate of drug production on Friday.

The report said Afghanistan’s poppy cultivation had decreased in 2019 compared to 2018, but potential pure opium production had gone up.

The report said poppy cultivation in Afghanistan declined by 28 percent from 221,000 hectares in 2018 to 160,000 hectares in 2019.

But opium production rose by 21 percent, from 5,550 metric tonnes in 2018 to 6,700 metric tonnes in 2019, the report said.

Low opium prices at planting time drove the decline in cultivation. The spike in pure opium production was driven by favorable weather and harvesting conditions.

The White House alleged insurgents earned revenue through smuggling drugs and prolonged insecurity besides fuelling corruption.

The US would continue to work with Afghanistan to address the serious problem in the country, the report promised.

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