"Opium poppy cultivation and drug trafficking have become significant negative factors in Afghanistan's fragile political and economic order over the last 25 years. Afghan, U.S., and coalition efforts to provide viable economic alternatives to poppy cultivation and to disrupt corruption and narco-terrorist linkages succeeded in reducing opium poppy cultivation in some areas during 2004 and 2005. […] In spite of ongoing efforts by the Afghan government, the United States, and their partners, Afghanistan is now the source of 93% of the world's illicit opium. Across Afghanistan, militia commanders, criminal organizations, and corrupt officials have exploited narcotics as a reliable source of revenue and patronage, which has perpetuated the threat these groups pose to the country's fragile internal security and the legitimacy of its embryonic democratic government. U.N. officials estimated that in-country illicit revenue from the 2006 opium poppy crop reached over $3 billion, sustaining fears that Afghanistan's economic recovery continues to be underwritten by drug profits. The trafficking of Afghan drugs also appears to provide financial and logistical support to a range of extremist groups that continue to operate in and around Afghanistan, including the resurgent remnants of the Taliban and some Al Qaeda operatives. […] President Bush […] warned that, 'the Taliban uses drug money to buy weapons ... and they pay Afghans to take up arms against the government.' […] In addition to describing the structure of the Afghan narcotics trade, this report provides current statistical information, profiles the narcotics trade's participants, explores narco-terrorist linkages, and reviews U.S. and international policy responses since late 2001. The report also considers current policy debates regarding the counternarcotics roles of the U.S. military, poppy eradication, alternative livelihoods, and funding issues for Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32686