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Opium cultivation reaches record levels in Afghanistan, report says

Cultivation of poppy - the base crop for opium and heroin - in Afghanistan is higher than ever. That's according to a new report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. Here's the office's head, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, at a press conference in Kabul. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME (UNODC) IN AFGHANISTAN, JEAN-LUC LEMAHIEU SAYING: "The 2013 year, where we have witnessed an absolute record in opium cultivation in Afghanistan 209,000 hectares (516,000 acres) as the year of the paradox." The report blames factors such as high opium prices and a lack of Afghan political will to tackle the problem. Another big factor, experts say, is greater insecurity as foreign troops pull back ahead of next year's withdrawal. Afghanistan is the world's top poppy cultivator with areas of production this year 36 percent higher than in 2012. Lemaheiu says the world has a choice to make. (SOUNDBITE) (English HEAD OF TH

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