In late August 2008 the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its annual report on the production of opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, which states: "No other country in the world except China middle of the XIX century, did not produce as many drugs as modern Afghanistan . "
After the invasion of U.S. and NATO forces, drug production has increased several times. Today it is Russia and the EU countries are the main victims of heroin from Afghanistan. It is noted that the rapid increase in the consumption of drugs in Russia in the last ten years there is the expense of drug trafficking from Afghanistan.
According to the UNODC, Afghanistan produced more than 90% of opium coming into the world market. Opium plantation area is 193 hectares. Revenues Afghan "drug lords" in 2007 exceeded $ 3 billion (which, according to various estimates, between 10% and 15% of the official GDP of Afghanistan). The area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan now exceeds the coca plantations in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia combined. In 2006, the country produced 6,100 tons of opium, and in 2007 — a record harvest of 8,000 tons.
At the same time, in the north and center, controlled by the government of Hamid Karzai, produced only 20% of Afghan opium poppy, and the remaining share — in the southern provinces on the border with Pakistan — the action zone of NATO troops and the Taliban. The main center of drug production — Helmand province, a stronghold of the Taliban, where planted area was 103 hectares.
Afghanistan is officially under the auspices of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) (which the U.S. has transferred this responsibility after the official end of military operations), but international forces have not been able to take control of the whole of Afghanistan, limiting their real impact in the main Kabul and surrounding area .
According to UN figures, about 90% of drugs entering Europe are of Afghan origin. ISAF, on the other hand, in words says its troops in Afghanistan carried out a peacekeeping operation and are ready to assist the Afghan government in dealing with the drug problem, but it is primarily and mainly to his own task.
Poppy cultivation is often the only source of income for Afghan farmers.
Afghanistan — the world's largest producer of opium, poppy cultivation decreased by 22% to 157,000 hectares in 2008, but remains at historically high levels, adverse growing conditions in 2008 reduced the number of harvested crop to 5,500 tons, up 31% compared to 2007. If the harvest was processed, we would have about 648 tons of pure heroin. The Taliban and other insurgent groups directly involved in the production of opium and profit from trading them. Opium is a key source of revenue for the Taliban in Afghanistan. In 2008, the Taliban income from drug sales amounted to 470 million dollars. Widespread corruption and instability in the country prevent the applicable measures to combat drug trafficking. Most of the heroin sold in Europe and East Asia is produced from Afghan opium (2008).
Some experts believe that during the period of Taliban rule, drug production was banned and suppressed, whereas after the invasion of U.S. and NATO manufacture and supply of drugs have increased significantly and are controlled by them.
For example, the director of the Kazakhstan consulting organization "Risk Assessment Group" Dosym Satpayev believes that drugs produce Afghan groups, the Taliban opposition. By supporting them, NATO is turning a blind eye to their drug activity.
Also, according to Michael Bernstama, a professor at Stanford University, the Taliban "banned drugs and severely punished" by exercising repression against drug producers. He accused NATO of a "humanitarian regard" to the people that produce drugs.