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Afghan Casualties Quadruple In 2006 Fighting


http://gdb.rferl.org/23887E55-9932-4FEB-80F5-91AC95E13031_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/23887E55-9932-4FEB-80F5-91AC95E13031_mw800_mh600.jpg Afghan man wounded in U.s.-led coalition air strikes (file photo) (epa) November 12, 2006 -- According to a new report, insurgency and terrorist-related activity in Afghanistan now kills an average of 600 people per month, four times more than a year ago.

The statistics are in the latest report by the Joint Coordinating and Monitoring Board, which is made up of experts from the Afghan government and its global partners.

The report, unveiled in Kabul, says that because of the growing violence and corruption, the overall pace of economic development in Afghanistan has been "much slower" than hoped.

The report says Afghanistan's huge opium output -- which reached a record 6,100 tons this year according to the United Nations -- is helping fuel armed conflict.

(AFP)
Opium In Afghanistan
An antidrug billboard in Kabul shows a skeleton hanging from an opium bulb (AFP)

OPIUM FARMING ON THE RISE Despite a nationwide program by the Afghan government to eradicate opium-poppy fields and offer farmers alternative crops, international experts say that the 2006 opium crop will be as much as 40 percent larger than the previous year's. Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium in the world, and the source of as much as 90 percent of Europe's heroin.(more)


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