World Drug Report 2008

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released its annual report (pdf) on global trends in the production, trafficking and consumption of controlled substances yesterday. Most notably, the report gave us some disturbing new figures on the Afghan opium cultivation, which grew by 17% since 2007. Today, some 92% of the opium in the world comes from Afghanistan. Column Lynch has more

The Taliban earned $200 million to $400 million last year through a 10 percent tax on poppy growers and drug traffickers in areas under its control, Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime, said in an interview. He estimates that Afghan poppy farmers and drug traffickers last year earned about $4 billion, half of the country’s national income.

Simply eradicating Afghan poppy fields is not really an option. In a year old LA Times piece, Peter Bergen and Sameer Lalwani explain how counter-narcotics policy can sometimes make for counter-productive counter-insurgency strategy. Cato’s Ted Galen Carpenter has more.