Afghanistan has been the greatest illicit opium producer in the entire world, ahead of Burma .Duran Taliban control on Afghanistan in July 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Umer collaborating with the United Nations to eradicate heroin production in Afghanistan, declared that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world’s most successful anti-drug campaigns. As a result of this ban, opium poppy cultivation was reduced by 91% from the previous year’s estimate of 82,172 hectares. The ban was so effective that Helmand Province, which had accounted for more than half of this area, recorded no poppy cultivation during the 2001 season. The Bush administration paid a 43 million dollar ‘eradication’ reward payment to the Taliban in 2001.
Opium production in Afghanistan has been on the rise since U.S. occupation started in 2001. Based on UNODC data, there has been more opium poppy cultivation in each of the past four growing seasons (2004–2007) than in any one year during Taliban rule. Also, more land is now used for opium in Afghanistan than for coca cultivation in Latin America.
The United Nations Tuesday called on Afghan authorities to pull together to make “meaningful efforts” to combat drug production. Afghanistan, which produces 90 percent of the world’s opium, has only seen “modest” success in the eradication of poppy fields, said Youri Fedotov, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The U.N. has said poppy-crop cultivation covered more than 131,000 hectares (323,000 acres) in 2011, up seven per cent from the previous year, while the overall crop increased by 61 per cent. The value of the opium yield rose 133 percent from 2010, when plant diseases killed much of the Afghan crop. And the high price of opium meant poppy cultivation remained an attractive proposition for Afghan farmers.