Afghanistan- on the road to a narco-state?

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"If this thing gets out of hand, you could move from a narco-economy to a narco-state," - Doug Wankel, director, US drugs control office

Things are going good for poppy cultivators in Afghanistan;

"Opium cultivation in Afghanistan rose 59 percent in 2006, largely due to a dramatic increase in the troubled southern provinces, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Saturday…

The Afghan Government, the Parliament and partner nations have made it clear that legalizing cultivation or buying up the opium crop for medical purposes is not an option under current circumstances. The price differential between the legal market, where opium costs about $20-30 per kilo, and the illegal one, where the price is $100, would lead to even greater cultivation and the massive diversion of supplies to the black market..."

NYT also reports on the report;

“He said the increase in cultivation was significantly fueled by the resurgence of Taliban rebels in the south, the country’s prime opium growing region. As the insurgents have stepped up attacks, they have also encouraged and profited from the drug trade, promising protection to growers if they expanded their opium operations. “This year’s harvest will be around 6,100 metric tons of opium — a staggering 92 percent of total world supply. It exceeds global consumption by 30 percent,” Mr. Costa said at a news briefing…

He said the harvest increased by 49 percent from the year before, and it drastically outpaced the previous record of 4,600 metric tons, set in 1999 while the Taliban governed the country. The area cultivated increased by 59 percent, with more than 400,000 acres planted with poppies in 2006 compared with less than 260,000 in 2005….
Afghanistan is already the world’s largest producer of opium, and 35 percent of its gross domestic product is estimated to come from the narcotics trade..”

Related;
Colombia's 'Drugs and Thugs'
Deconstructing Afghanistan
Afghanistan Reconstruction
Afghanistan's Uncertain Transition from Turmoil to Normalcy
South Asia Monitor: The Reconstruction of Afghanistan: A Fight for Survival
Afghanistan; Country in Brief – World Bank
Afghanistan's opium output: what problem?
Afghanistan’s Other War
Life in Afghanistan
Afghanistan-It's rough up north; "In Juma Bazaar, near Maimana, a commander called Rahmatullah Rais, loyal to General Dostum's Jumbesh party, rules the roost. Locals claim that, like most commanders, Mr Rais levies a produce tax, which he calls zakat, after the Muslim tithe to feed the poor, according to his whim. They also say he grabs their water, which after four droughts in five years is a precious resource, and accuse him of the murder of six men in the town earlier this year. Mr Rais denies involvement in the killings and says he hasn't levied zakat for a decade."
Afghanistan: a country on the move
World Drug Report 2006

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Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world. but it is very full of culture and traditions. - Integrity Spas

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