Karzai blames U.S. and Britain for increased opium production

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Opium poppy. Photo by Catherine Giayvia

Afghanistan opium cultivation was a record 323,700 acres last year and yielded almost 90 percent of the world's supply. Opium may account for one-third of Afghanistan's GDP.

On Sunday's CNN's Late Edition, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai laid the blame for the explosion of opium production in his country at the feet of the US and Britain. "This particular operation in Kandahar or in other parts of the country, which have not been so successful, was supposed to be done by an agency, a department that was funded by the international community, by the United States, by Britain. The failure is theirs, not ours." Kazai said. "Where international money and creation of forces for destruction of poppies was concerned, it was ineffective and delayed and half-hearted."

Karzai was responding to allegations in Sunday's New York Times that his government was dragging their heels in reducing the opium production in Afghanistan. In Kandahar Province last week, farmers were visible from the main road scraping the last resin from poppy plants. That location is just 10 minutes outside the provincial capital.


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