Afghan opium cultivation dives 95%

The United Nations' anti-crime agency says opium farming in Afghanistan plunged an estimated 95 percent in 2023. This follows a drug ban imposed last year by the Taliban interim government.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime says in a report released on Sunday that cultivation fell across the whole country. Opium supply dropped from 6,200 tons in 2022 to just 333 tons this year.

The opium trade is believed to have been a source of funds for the Taliban for many years. But the Islamist group has been cracking down on farming opium poppy since April last year.

The report points out acute relief measures are needed as many farmers have turned to growing wheat, which generates much less income. It also warns that a reduced opium supply may spur the use of harmful alternatives.