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Afghan Opium Poppies Thrive Despite $7 Billion From U.S.

The U.S. is losing the war on opium-poppy production in Afghanistan, where output has grown to record levels despite about $7.6 billion in U.S. counter-narcotics spending there, according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Poppy cultivation, which is a “significant” revenue source for the Taliban, has expanded in arid areas of southwestern Afghanistan due to the use of affordable deep-well technology, and has resumed in areas once declared poppy-free, John Sopko wrote in the report released today.