The amount of opium poppy produced in the troubled country is set to top 8,200 tonnes this year - up 34% from 2006, according to a UN report. The southern province of Helmand - where British troops have been engaged in fierce and increasingly deadly clashes with the Taliban - saw a 48% rise in cultivation and is responsible for more than half the crop.
Altogether Afghanistan now accounts for 93% of global production, and insurgents are actively promoting the trade to earn money, the report concluded.
Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, said the situation was "dramatic and getting worse by the day", adding: "No other country in the world has ever had such a large amount of farmland used for illegal activity, beside China 100 years ago.
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