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Blight Hits Afghanistan's Poppy Crop

A farmer checks poppy fields in Kandahar.

A farmer checks poppy fields in Kandahar.

UN officials say a blight that has hit Afghanistan's opium crops could wipe out up to 30 percent of this year's yield.

Antonio Maria Costa, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said the disease -- which appears to be a form of fungus -- is thought to have infected about half of the country's poppy crops, which are mostly located in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.

Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world's opium, which is used to make heroin.

UN data shows the blight has caused a rise in opium prices, which could mean more money pouring in to the Taliban, which funds much of its insurgency with profits from the drug.

compiled from agency reports