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South Asia

30/10/2005

Averse to law: The Afghanistan government, along with the UN, has rejected a call of experts to legalise cultivation of opium crops in the country. Eighty seven per cent of the world's opium is produced in Afghanistan and illegal heroin trade is rampant.

Senlis Council, a France-based group of experts, had recently suggested urgent legalisation of the country's opium industry. The idea was to enable the poor countries to reap the benefits of supplying opium legally for use in manufacture of pain relief products. In a report, the Council cited examples of countries like Australia, which licence opium production for use in making drugs such as codeine and morphine, that are in short supply around the world. But Afghanistan government rejected the idea on the ground that even if opium cultivation is legalised, illegal trade for the heroin market would continue due to the country's poor security situation.

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