Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) – Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan: After a Decade of Reconstruction and Over $7 Billion in Counternarctics Efforts, Poppy Cultivation Levels Are At An All Time-High, October 2014.
“As of June 30, 2014, the United States has spent approximately $7.6 billion on counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan. Multiple sources of funding support these efforts, including the Department of Defense (DOD) Afghan Security Forces Fund, the State Department’s (State) International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement fund, the DOD Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities fund, financial support from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Economic Support Fund. Counternarcotics efforts include the development of Afghan government counternarcotics capacity, operational support to Afghan
counternarcotics forces; encouragement of alternative livelihoods for Afghan farmers; financial incentives to Afghan authorities to enforce counternarcotics laws; and, in limited instances, counternarcotics operations conducted by U.S. authorities in coordination with their Afghan counterparts. Despite the significant financial expenditure, opium poppy cultivation has far exceeded previous records. Affordable deep-well technology has turned 200,000 hectares of desert in southwestern Afghanistan into arable land over the past decade. Due to relatively high opium prices and the rise of an inexpensive, skilled, and mobile labor force, much of this newly-arable land is dedicated to opium cultivation. Poppy-growing provinces that were once declared ‘poppy free’ have seen a resurgence in cultivation. Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, considered a model for successful counterinsurgency and counternarcotics efforts and deemed ‘poppy free’ by the UNODC in 2008, saw a fourfold increase in opium poppy cultivation between 2012 and 2013. The UNODC estimates that the value of the opium and its derivative products produced in Afghanistan was nearly $3 billion in 2013, up from $2 billion in 2012. This represents an increase of 50 percent in a single year.”