UN / AFGHAN OPIUM SURVEY

02-Sep-2009 00:02:15
The 2009 Afghan Opium Survey by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says that opium cultivation and production is down more than expected, but that a marriage of convenience between insurgents and criminal groups is spawning narco-cartels in Afghanistan linked to the Taliban. UNODC
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STORY: UN / AFGHAN OPIUM SURVEY
TRT: 2.15
SOURCE: UNODC
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH/ NATS

DATELINE: FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE – DATE UNKNOWN, AFGHANISTAN

1.Close up, opium poppy capsule and lancing
2.Wide shot, Afghan farmer in poppy field
3.Close up, measuring opium poppy capsule
4.Various shots, farmer lancing poppy capsule to extract resin
5.Various shots, eradication of poppy fields with motorbikes
6.Various shots, eradication of poppy fields by hand
7.Various shots, Afghan army in conflict with Taliban in Helmand province

FILE - MAY 2009, HERAT, AFGHANISTAN

8.SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director UNODC:
“I recall when I was here the first time, seven years ago right after the collapse of the Taliban regime, it was practically a country without any protection, without any counter-narcotic intelligence, without a police force. Now it is proud of the police force it has, of its counter narcotics police in particular.”
9.Aerial shot, Herat, Afghanistan
10.SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director UNODC:
“We believe that collaboration with neighboring countries – Iran, Pakistan, and the Republics in the north in Central Asia – is important. The threats stemming from the drug economy, stemming from insurgency, are complex. Some of these threats come from across borders; therefore I believe that joint work, joint intelligence, joint border patrols are fundamental.”
11. Wide shot, UN helicopter, UNODC’s Executive Director exiting helicopter
12. Med shot, UNODC’s Executive Director on site with Afghan authorities
STORYLINE
Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has slumped for the second year, according to a United Nations report released today (2 September), which warns that huge, hidden stashes of the illicit drug are a “ticking bomb” in the country responsible for producing almost all of the world’s opium.

Assigning credit for the 22 per cent drop in opium cultivation to more robust counter-narcotics operations by Afghan and NATO forces, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that 20 of the South Asian country’s 34 provinces are now poppy-free – a rise of two over last year. The number of hectares of land harvesting the crop has also fallen by 123,000.

On a recent trip to Afghanistan UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said that “right after the collapse of the Taliban regime, it was practically a country without any protection, without any counter-narcotic intelligence, without a police force. Now it is proud of the police force it has, of its counter narcotics police in particular.”

The most dramatic turn-around was seen in Helmand province – one of Afghanistan’s most unstable areas – where cultivation declined by a third to less than 70,000 hectares thanks to strong leadership by the Governor, security forces mounting an aggressive anti-drugs offensive, favorable terms of trade for legal crops, and the successful introduction of food zones to promote lawful farming, Costa wrote in the report.

He said that collaboration with neighboring countries is important as some the threats stemming from the drug economy and the insurgency "come from across borders” and therefore “joint work, joint intelligence, joint border patrols are fundamental”

The 2009 Afghan Opium Survey noted that production of opium fell by ten per cent – a less dramatic drop than poppy harvests because farmers are extracting more opium per bulb – and around 800,000 fewer people are involved in opium production compared with 2008.

Afghanistan produces large opium surpluses over the global demand, which remains stable at around 5,000 tons per year, and although prices have fallen, they have not yet crashed, suggesting that large amounts of opium are being withheld from the markets.
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