Pubdate: Fri, 08 Sep 2006
Source: Hindustan Times (India)
Copyright: 2006, Hindustan Times Ltd.
Contact:  http://www.hindustantimes.com
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/910
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/heroin.htm (Heroin)

SENATE APPROVES $700 MN TO FIGHT AFGHAN OPIUM PRODUCTION

The US Senate voted to step up Washington's efforts to fight
Afghanistan's flourishing production of opium poppies, setting aside
$700 million to fund US Defence Department counter-narcotics measures.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, who wrote the measure, said that
the revenue generated from Afghan poppies, which are used to produce
heroin, is funding a resurgence of the Taliban, the fundamentalist
Islamic regime deposed by US-led forces following the September 11,
2001 terror attacks.

"Our soldiers fought long and hard to rid Afghanistan of terrorists
and the Taliban. However, if the drug trade continues to surge and
consume the nation, their heroic efforts may be undone," Schumer said
on Thursday.

"The Taliban draws its strength from the drug trade and in order to
prevent them from reclaiming the country, we need to crack down the
drugs that fuel their regime," he said.

A recent UN report determined that overall opium production in
Afghanistan this year has grown 50 per cent to a record 6,100 metric
tonnes.

The country is estimated to supply 92 per cent of the world's opium.
The value of the 2006 opium crop in Afghanistan is expected to top $4
billion, up from $2 billion.
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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath