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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Opium production jumps near British base in Afghanistan

British troops in Helmand drive past a poppy field

The opium-growing area around Britain's main base in Afghanistan nearly quadrupled between 2011 and 2013, the UK government has said.

Poppy fields took up 19,136 hectares (47,286 acres) in the district nearest Camp Bastion in Helmand province last year.

That compares with a figure of 5,413 hectares (13,376 acres) in 2011. (...)

Foreign Office minister Hugh Robertson admitted the international community had misjudged its ability to tackle the heroin trade in Afghanistan.

He said many communities in the area relied on opium cultivation to survive because of poverty and insecurity. (...)

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