Just who is buying all that Afghan opium?

Recent gyrations in supply of opium from Afghanistan, with no corresponding difference in supply of illicit heroin on our streets, suggest an unknown customer snapping up the bulk of it

By Kevin Potvin

In 1999, Afghan poppy farmers accounted for 75% of global opium production, producing about 4,000 tons. In 2000, the Taliban government, four years consolidating their power after dispatching the last of the exhausted warlords in 1996, clamped down and reduced Afghan production to nearly nothing. They had eradicated poppy production completely in the nine-tenths of the country they effectively governed and vowed to never allow poppy growing again.

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