'Poor progress' on Afghanistan opium

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The Independent Online

The lack of security in Afghanistan is "severely hampering" efforts to tackle opium production, a drugs monitoring body warned today.

The International Narcotics Control Board criticised the "poor progress" made in stopping farmers growing poppy plants which are used to make heroin.

Cannabis is becoming a more popular crop for Afghan farmers, the INCB said in its annual report.

It stated: "Farmers have been switching from opium poppy cultivation to cannabis cultivation, as cannabis cultivation is becoming increasingly lucrative in Afghanistan and no action has been taken by the government to prevent such cultivation."

The report calls on the international community to do more to encourage development and discourage farmers from cultivating illegal drugs.

Afghanistan produces around 90 per cent of the world's opium crop. Last year the area being used to grow opium fell but total production increased to near record levels.

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