Article published on the 2009-10-22 Latest update 2009-10-22 10:34 TU
UNODC Director Antonio Maria Costa says that this flourishing illicit industry is the result of the failure to crack down on opium farming.
And, despite widespread allegations that officials linked to the government are involved in the trade, the report concentrates on Taliban implication in selling the crop.
"The Taliban's direct involvement in the opium trade allows them to fund a war machine that is becoming technologically more complex and increasingly widespread," said Costa.
UNODC estimates indicate that the Taliban has doubled its income from the poppy trade over the past ten years, earning between 60 and 107 million euros from taxing the the production and smuggling of opium over the past four years.
One of the major problems of the opium trade is how to sufficiently compensate farmers who stop cultivating poppies. The report indicates that roughly half of all Afghans rely on farming as their livelihood.
"With so much opium in evil hands, the need to locate and destroy these stocks is more urgent than ever," said Costa.
Some who switched crops were unable to sustain their families and returned to the more lucrative poppy growing.
"In 2005 and 2006, the vast majority of Nangarhar farmers abstained from cultivating opium poppy but were not able to compensate for the loss in income through other crops," according to the report.
"As a result, opium poppy cultivation bounced back to 18,739 hectacres in 2007."
UNODC statistics on the opium trade:
2009-10-22 10:34 TU
2009-10-22 10:08 TU
2009-10-20 17:06 TU