U.S. Counternarcotics Strategy in Afghanistan: A Report to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, Second Session, July 2010   [open pdf - 2MB]

"Afghanistan has been a source country for narcotics since the 1500s. Since 2001, poppy cultivation has risen dramatically and Afghanistan has become the world's largest producer of opium. Opium gum is harvested from the bulbs of poppy plants by scoring each plant with a knife. The labor-intensive process of scoring each individual poppy bulb takes place on over 300,000 acres and employs approximately 1.6 million Afghans. The opium gum is chemically manufactured into morphine and finally converted into heroin. The narcotics trade is now a major source of revenue for terrorists. The Taliban has evolved into a narco-cartel that operates heroin processing labs and provides protection to traffickers. The vast amount of drug money has trumped ideology as the Taliban cashes in on heroin sales. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates the Taliban's take to be several hundred million dollars a year, enough to fund the insurgency and expand their drug empire."

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Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control: http://www.drugcaucus.senate.gov/
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