Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Taliban suspected of stockpiling 'missing' Afghan opium

Enough Afghan opium to supply world demand for two years has effectively gone missing, with the Taliban suspected of stockpiling supplies in a bid to corner the market, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has revealed. Afghanistan is the world's leading narcotics supplier. Earlier this month, a U.N. study revealed Afghanistan's opium production had dropped dramatically this year partly because of new aggressive drug-fighting tactics in the country.

According to the UNODC report, production dipped by 10 percent this year while cultivation fell by 22 percent. However, a senior U.N. spokesman warned that this positive news should be treated with caution. "We figure the world needs around 4,000 tons of opium a year for licit and illicit purposes," Walter Kemp of the UNODC told CNN. Has enough emphasis been placed on drug trafficking? "But this year around 6,900 tons was produced, with 7,700 tons delivered last year and more than 8,500 the year before that. "So if the world only needs around 4,000 tons of opium and a further 1,000 is seized, where is the rest of it going?"

According to Kemp, world demand for opium remains stable yet prices are not crashing, which suggests a large amount of opium is being withheld from the market. "Our guess is that around 12,000 tons of opium has been stockpiled somewhere -- not all in one place but in and around Afghanistan," he added. "So while production might be coming down -- mostly because of market reasons -- there's still a lot of product around to satisfy demand for about two years."



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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