GENEVA, Sept 22, Reuter: More opium is now being produced in Afghanistan than before the start of the civil war between the soviets backed Government and Moslem rebels, a U.N. Official said on Thursday.

“Opium is still thought to be grown in most if not all the traditional growing areas and production is estimated to be above 1978 Levels,” said Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, U.N. Coordinator of aid to Afghanistan.

Sadruddin said 200400 tons of opium and up to 500 tonnes of cannabis were produced annually before the nine year old war. He gave no figures for present production.

In preparing a plan for rebuilding the country as Soviet troops leave, he said it was essential to consider the “Devasting implications,” of the heroin and opium trade and offer farmers an alternative.

“The menacing trend in opium production is likely to accelerate unless action is taken to offer satisfactory opportunities to farmers in the producing areas to grow their own food and earn cash incomes.”

He said the U.N. fund for drug abuse control was collaborating with him to formulate appropriate strategies.

Article extracted from this publication >> September 30, 1988