Afghan Poppy Crops Down 40% Since ‘08 as Key Towns Secured
Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan’s key opium producing region has declined 40% over the past four years as coalition and government forces have secured key towns and villages and the Afghan government has ramped up eradication.
This year farmers grew poppy on about 143,000 acres in Helmand province, down from its peak of nearly 256,000 acres in 2008, according to Regional Command Southwest.
“In all countries we see links between cultivation and security,” said Angela Me, an analyst at the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. “The areas that are more secure are where we had less opium.”
Since insurgents are supported by drug revenues, the decline in poppy cultivation has cut into the Taliban’s ability to launch operations, according to Regional Command Southwest.