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Afghanistan’s opium cultivation to surge in 2013: UN

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Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is expected to increase for a third straight year, expanding even to poppy-free areas this year, a United Nations report warned on Monday.

The Afghanistan Opium Risk Assessment 2013 said Afghanistan was moving towards record levels of opium production this year despite eradication efforts by the international community and Afghan government.

“The assessment suggests that poppy cultivation is not only expected to expand in areas where it already existed in 2012… but also in new areas or in areas where poppy cultivation was stopped,” the survey said.

The study by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says that a strong association between insecurity, lack of agricultural assistance and opium cultivation are fuelling the trend.

“Villages with a low level of security and those which had not received agricultural assistance in the previous year were significantly more likely to grow poppy in 2013,” the report said.

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