The U.S. has decided to stop funding poppy field eradication in Afghanistan, declaring the policy a failure and a waste of money. Since 2003, opium production has gone up 40-fold in Afghanistan, making it the producer of 90 percent of the world’s heroin. But Britain, backed by the Afghan government, will continue destroying poppy fields as a way to stem the drug trade.
More than 93 percent of the world’s opiates are now grown in Afghanistan, with an opium crop that has doubled in the last two years. According to the executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, “No other country beside China in the 19th Century ever had such a large amount of land dedicated to illegal activities.”