The United Nations drug control office estimates that the Afghan opium harvest will yield up to 3,000 tons of opium this spring. That's what UN spokeswoman Antonella Deledda told a press conference in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the Frontier Post (Pakistan) reported Monday. While well below the record Afghan crop of 1999, when the yield hit 4,600 tons, the huge harvest is a remarkable reversal from last year. In 2001, the Taliban effectively banned opium growing and the estimated yield plummeted to 300 tons, most of it from areas controlled by the Northern Alliance -- then an opposition group, now the most powerful player in the new Afghan government.

Burma, which displaced Afghanistan as the world's leading opium producer last year during the Taliban ban, produced an estimated 1,200 tons last year. No estimate is available on current production in Burma, but it appears likely that Afghanistan will regain the title this year.

The stuff will be showing up as heroin in consumer markets from Teheran and Karachi to Frankfurt and London later this year, after enriching local warlords, corrupt officials and trafficking organizations along the way.

-- END --
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Issue #240, 6/7/02 Editorial: Time for Action | Feds Move to Seize LA Cannabis Resource Center, Hunger Strike Underway | Medical Marijuana Supporters Turn to Civil Disobedience, Direct Action | Rave Regulation Bill Passes California Assembly on Unanimous Vote, Heads for Senate | Cops Jockey for More Drug War Funds in Wake of FBI Revamp | Hot Topic: Adolescent Drug Treatment Abuse Conference Begins in St. Petersburg Tomorrow | Newsbrief: Wiretaps Up, Drug Investigations Behind Most, Feds Report | Newsbrief: New Mexico Governor Commutes Sentence of Raped Prisoner | Newsbrief: Fort Worth Police Chief Dares to Cut DARE | Newsbrief: Afghan Opium Harvest Estimated at 3,000 Tons | Newsbrief: Buds in Bhutan | Media Scan: Arianna Huffington | Grant Program: Tides Foundation RFPs for Latin America, Prop. 36 Implementation and Overdose Prevention | New DRCNet/StopTheDrugWar.org Merchandise Out -- Discounted Purchase Available | The Reformer's Calendar
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