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12 November 2009 

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A Fateful Harvest


Afghanistan supplies virtually all of the world's illegal opium - and it's a $4 billion business. Getting Afghanistan to rid itself of poppy is a pillar of U.S. policy there, because Taliban insurgents use profits from opium as a source of revenue. For Afghans themselves, however, feelings about poppy are conflicted:  it's harmful to their country and to their people, but it is also a livelihood for many where instability offers few alternatives. VOA's Afghan service examines the issue. 

Watch the entire VOA documentary, A Fateful Harvest, on YouTube.



The dealer prepares drugs for smuggling
The Business of Opium in Afghanistan: Nangahar Drug Dealer  Video clip available
Nangahar - once a prime example of poppy eradication - has surged back to a 273 percent increase in cultivation in 2007
The Business of Opium in Afghanistan: Drug Addiction  Video clip available
Opium addiction is health problem that has already struck an estimated one million Afghans and is rapidly spreading in the cities
Malik Chakan
The Business of Opium in Afghanistan: Nangahar Poppies  Video clip available
Poppy cultivation represents controversial struggle between Afghanistan's need to curb drug trade, and farmers' need to earn a livelihood
Baz Mohammad being extradited to Afghanistan by U.S. agents
The Business of Opium in Afghanistan: Drugs and Corruption  Video clip available
Efforts to prosecute those involved in the drug trade are complicated in a country where small family farms depend on the crop, and it is dangerous work to go after even small offenders

 More information on Afghanistan and the Opium Trade

  red bullet  US State Department Background (March 2008)

  red bullet  UN Office on Drugs and Crime 2007 Report

  red bullet  US Counternarcotics Strategy for Afghanistan (2007 - PDF)

  red bullet