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What did $7 billion spent on opium eradication in Afghanistan buy? More opium.
With the outcome of Afghanistan's controversial presidential election still in doubt, and uncertainty over Afghan forces' ability to stand against the Taliban after most US forces withdraw, it's hard to say with certainty what the US-led war there has accomplished, or failed to accomplish.
But one thing is clear, as shown by latest quarterly report from the US Special Inspector General on Afghanistan Reconstruction: The $7 billion US program to eradicate poppy cultivation there over the past decade has been a flop.
The country is today the world's largest supplier of opium, the purified latex sap from the Papaver somniferum poppy species that is usually then converted into heroin. It accounts for about three-quarters of the global recreational supply, and surging Afghan production is one reason why street heroin prices have been falling across the globe.
The latest (United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime) Opium Survey estimates that 209,000 hectares are under opium-poppy cultivation, an all-time high and a 36% increase from 2012.
to read more: csmonitor.com
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