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Military

Number of Afghan drug labs rises 2.5 times in two years

RIA Novosti

11:01 29/10/2010 MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) - The number of drug laboratories in Afghanistan has increased by almost 2.5 times in the past two years, a Russian Drug Control Service official said on Friday.

"The number of Afghan drug labs, discovered by the Russian Drug Control Service, has increased from 175 in 2008 to 425 in 2010. We have to acknowledge that the effectiveness of efforts to eliminate drug labs is very low," the official said.

"In 2009, 245,000 Afghan families were involved in cultivating opium poppies, now the figure is as high as 248,000 families," he said, adding that this constituted 6.4 percent of the Afghan population.

Drug trafficking is a major source of income for Afghanistan's impoverished rural population, and also for its militants. The country produces a total of 90 percent of the world's opium.

Afghan drug production increased dramatically after the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban in 2001, and Russia has been one of the most affected countries, with heroin consumption rising steeply.

An estimated 90 percent of heroin consumed in Russia is trafficked from Afghanistan via Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Moscow has repeatedly criticized U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan for failing to eradicate heroin production and warned that drug trafficking is endangering Russia's national security.



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