Despite the presence of more than 30,000 international troops , the World Drug Report says more than 90% of illegal opium (compared to 70% in 2000 and 52% a decade earlier,), comes from Afghanistan. Helmand province alone cultivates almost half the world's illegal opium.
Thomas Pietschmann, the report's author, says production in Helmand has now outstripped that of entire countries.
"The province of Helmand itself is around 70,000 hectares under cultivation, which is three times the total area under cultivation in Myanmar (Burma). So only one province, three times as important as the whole of Myanmar, the second-largest opium-producing country," Mr Pietschmann says.
Harvests have been rising significantly since the US/British overthrow of the Taliban regime five years ago and last year's rise in Afghanistan pushed global production up by a massive 43% compared to 2005 .
Meanwhile the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports U.S. and/or NATO forces are killing Afghan civilians at a faster rate than militant insurgents .
Why are we there , again ? To bring law and order and stability , was it ?
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