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UN Says Afghan Opium Harvest Almost Halved in 2010


Afghan policemen stand by as a pile of narcotics is burned on the outskirts of Kabul in August.

Afghan policemen stand by as a pile of narcotics is burned on the outskirts of Kabul in August.

A UN report says opium harvests in Afghanistan have dropped by almost half this year due to a crop disease.

Afghanistan produces around 90 percent of the world's opium, the main ingredient of heroin.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in a report released today said Afghanistan produced an estimated 3,600 tons of opium this year -- a 48 percent reduction from 2009.

But the report said the total area of the country used for opium-poppy cultivation remains the same, with most of the poppies grown in restive southern and western provinces.

The report also warned that with prices rising, production is unlikely to remain low.

The Taliban, who have been waging war on the Afghan government for the past nine years, are thought to get much of their funding from Afghanistan's illegal drug production.

compiled from agency reports
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