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A move that has long been debated by the Obama Administration could soon become reality, as officials say the State Department delivered an ultimatum to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit last week cautioning that if he doesn’t move against the Taliban forces in the city of Quetta the US will.
Such attacks would be a major escalation of the unpopular US drone strikes against the nation, so far confined to the area in and around the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Quetta, a city of three quarters of a million people, is the capital of Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan.
After regularly producing 70% of the world's opium, Afghanistan decreased production to 74 tons per year under a ban by the Taliban in 2000, a move which cut production by 94 per cent.
A year later, after American and British troops invaded Afghanistan, removed the Taliban and installed the interim government, the land under cultivation leapt back to 285 square miles, with Afghanistan supplanting Burma to become the world's largest opium producer once more.
n 2006, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimated production to have risen 59% to 407,000 acres (1,650 km2) in cultivation, yielding 6,100 tons of opium, 82% of the world's supply. The value of the resulting heroin was estimated at $3.5 billion
US Troops told to ignore Opium Crop that is now more than 1/2 Afghan GDP