Government destroys 4,000 hectares of poppy fields
Kabul, November 1, 2004 - About 4,000 hectares of poppy-cultivated land has been destroyed this year in Afghanistan, the interior minister said here Monday.
"Counter-narcotics department has destroyed around 4,000 hectares of poppy-planted land in the country during 2004," Ali Ahmad Jalali said while opening a seminar on "Prevention of Poppy Cultivation".
Poppy cultivation began to rise in the post-Taliban Afghanistan as many farmers have been devoting their lands to grow the easily profitable crop, mainly in the countryside where the central government has little sway.
Poppy-cultivated lands have grown from 80,000 hectares in 2003 to 100,000 hectares in 2004 in Afghanistan. With an output of 3, 600 tons of opium in 2003, the central Asian state has become the world's largest single supplier of the raw material used in manufacturing heroin.
The government, under a five-year counter-narcotic strategy launched last May, aims to reduce opium cultivation by 70 percent by 2008.