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Report finds Afghanistan is on the verge of becoming a narcotics state

March 5, 2005

A U.S. State Department report [1] was released on Friday, March 4, officially detailing the extent to which opium production has soared in Afghanistan since the U.S invasion three years ago. The report made its way to U.S. Congress via Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Although the scope of study is large, investigating the status of illicit narcotics in almost every country during 2004, attention has focused on Afghanistan. With more than 510,000 sprawling acres of the impoverished country (three times the amount in 2003) utilized for Opium poppy cultivation (the raw material for heroin), the report warns that the country is becoming a "narcotics state" like Colombia for cocaine.

In addition, the report indicated that Afghanistan's opium production soared to 5,445 tons last year, producing 17 times more of the raw drug material than second-place Myanmar. The report stated that the explosion of narcotic production in Afghanistan is "an enormous threat to world stability."

To combat this issue, the Bush administration has proposed US$780 million to institute a plan that works on two levels: to promote alternative crops to farmers and to increase military interdiction for finding and destroying heroin labs and storage facilities. At the time of publishing, the U.S. government has already committed US$1.2 billion to counter-narcotics activities for 2005.

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