Survey: Afghanistan opium production up by 87 percent

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A joint survey by the Afghan government and the United Nations shows that opium production in Afghanistan has increased by 87 percent this year.

The production stands at a record level of 9,000 metric tons so far in 2017, compared with 2016 levels.

Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime say in the survey that the area under opium poppy cultivation has also increased to a record 328,000 hectares in 2017, up 63 percent compared with 201,000 hectares in 2016.

Also, the survey says the number of poppy-free provinces in the country decreased from 13 to 10, with now Ghazni, Samangan and Nuristan also becoming poppy growing regions, raising the number of those cultivating the poppy from 21 to 24.

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