UN: Opium production skyrockets in Afghanistan

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(CNN)Afghanistan has seen a dramatic surge in the production of opium this year, according to a new United Nations report.

Poor security conditions have led to a 43% rise in production of the illicit crop from 2015, with 4,800 metric tons produced this year, according to the Afghanistan Opium Survey 2016 compiled by the UN.
PUL-E ALAM, AFGHANISTAN - MARCH 27: U.S. Army SPC Romik Hazarian escorts U.S. Army advisers with 2nd Battalion 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division inside Forward Operating Base (FOB) Maiwand, an Afghan National Army (ANA) base that adjoins the U.S. Army's FOB Shank, on March 27, 2014 near Pul-e Alam, Afghanistan. Soldiers with the U.S. Army's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division stationed at FOB Shank advise and assist Afghan National Security Forces in the region. Security is at a heightened state throughout Afghanistan as the nation prepares for the April 5th presidential election. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PUL-E ALAM, AFGHANISTAN - MARCH 27: U.S. Army SPC Romik Hazarian escorts U.S. Army advisers with 2nd Battalion 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division inside Forward Operating Base (FOB) Maiwand, an Afghan National Army (ANA) base that adjoins the U.S. Army's FOB Shank, on March 27, 2014 near Pul-e Alam, Afghanistan. Soldiers with the U.S. Army's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division stationed at FOB Shank advise and assist Afghan National Security Forces in the region. Security is at a heightened state throughout Afghanistan as the nation prepares for the April 5th presidential election. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Yury Fedotov, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said the new report shows a worrying reversal in efforts to combat the persistent problem of illicit drugs and their impact on development.
The main reason for the increase, according to Mohammad Hanif Danishyar, spokesman for Afghanistan's Ministry of Counter-Narcotics, was the deteriorating security situation in parts of the country, which meant that eradication plans could not be implemented,
    Eradication teams in Afghanistan who monitor and destroy the growth of poppy have come under direct attack from farmers and insurgents, who want to protect what to them is a lucrative cash crop.
    Authorities have only been able to destroy 355 hectares of opium poppies this year compared to 3,760 hectares in 2015, a 91% decrease.
    The UN report added that improving opium poppy yields were also major factor behind the spike in production.
    "Drugs have direct links with corruption, terrorism and development. Without tackling drug problem and elicit economy, in general, it will not be possible to solve other problems facing Afghanistan," Andrey Avetisyan, regional representative of the United Nations on Drug and Crime said in a statement on Sunday.