Afghanistan’s opium economy is doing better than ever

Afghanistan’s opium economy is doing better than ever

May 21, 2014
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3455510738_048a43fff5_bDespite billions spent in eradication efforts, Afghanistan’s opium harvest is set to break all records this year, as one of the country’s primary agricultural activities and most profitable export trades blooms in the midst of an uncertain political and military transition.

Afghanistan produced tons of opium in 2013 — an estimated 6,062 tons in fact, — growing its output for the third consecutive year, and up 36 percent from the year before.

The hike followed a short-lived drop in production as international and Afghan officials attempted to eradicate cultivation of the delicate plant, which produces the main ingredient used in heroin.

As most foreign troops prepare to leave by year’s end, likely followed out the door by billions in development aid, Afghanistan’s blossoming illicit trade is a reflection of many of the uncertainties ahead — as the country deals with massive unemployment, a fragile security, and the fear of losing ground on progress made in the last few years.

[keep reading at VICE News]

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