The golden crescent is the name given to one of Asia’s two principal areas of illicit opium production, located at the crossroads of Central South and Western Asia. This space overlaps three nations: Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, whose mountainous peripheries define the crescent, though only Afghanistan and Pakistanproduce opium, with Iran being a consumer and trans-shipment route for the smuggled opiates. The United Nations office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) heroin production estimates for the past 10 years show significant changes in the primary source areas. Heroin production in South-east Asia declined dramatically. While heroin production in South-east Asia expanded in 1991, Afghanistan became the world’s primary opium producer with a yield of metric tons surpassing Myanmar formally the world leader in opium production. The decrease in heroin production from Myanmar is the result of several years of unfavorable growing conditions and new government policies of forced eradication. Afghan heroin production increased during the same time frame with a notable decrease in 2001 allegedly as a result of the Taliban’s fatwa against heroin production. Afghanistan now produces over 90% of the world’s opium. In addition to opiates Afghanistan is also the world’s largest producer of hashish.
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