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Tuesday
Apr162013

Afghan Opium Cultivation Booming Once Again

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The world's leading opium producer is having another good year, and causing much concern to the U.S. and the rest of the world.

A report released Monday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says that Afghanistan's opium cultivation is on the upswing for the third year in a row.

Already responsible for 75 percent of the world's heroin supply, the fear is that it could soar once again to as high as 90 percent once the U.S. and its NATO allies withdraw forces from Afghanistan in 2014.

Should that happen, it's believed opium cultivation will wind up as the top engine of the Afghan economy.

Up until 2010, poppy growing was on the decline through a program that paid farmers cash to destroy their crops.

However, since then, Taliban insurgents have helped farmers regrow poppies in provinces where the coalition presence isn't as great, both helping growers earn more and winning the Taliban popular support.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio