UN: Opium cultivation drops in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The U.N.'s anti-drug office says opium poppy production in Afghanistan was down 19 percent this year compared to 2007 due to successful campaigns in the north and east though fields in the south remain awash in the heroin-producing crop.

Efforts to eradicate opium poppy fields in the south failed miserably, and the Taliban stand to earn tens of millions of dollars from the trade.

Still, the U.N. and other drug officials say they're cautiously optimistic.

Last year farmers cultivated 476,903 acres; this year, they cultivated 388,000 acres.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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