Authorities: Over 16 Tons of Drugs Seized in Afghanistan

Afghan authorities seized over 16 tons of drugs in the past 10 days in operations targeting smugglers in seven provinces, Afghanistan's top counter-narcotics official said Saturday.

Lt. Gen. Mohammed Daoud Daoud said the seizures included seven tons of opium, eight tons of marijuana and just over one ton of heroin.

The U.N.'s Office on Drugs and Crime said last month that cultivation of opium-producing poppies in Afghanistan rose 59 percent this year to produce a record 6,100 tons of opium — or about 92 percent of the world's supply and outstripping heroin demand by a third.

The U.N. agency said only six of Afghanistan's 34 provinces are poppy-free.

It said some 2.9 million people were involved in growing opium, representing 12.6 percent of the total Afghan population, and that revenue from this year's harvest was predicted to hit over US$3 billion.

Daoud said that a renewed campaign with the help of local authorities is under way to convince the farmers not to grow the lucrative crop.