Harvesting opium in Afghanistan’s poppy fields

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Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan dropped 19 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, according to figures from the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. A recent uptick in violence across the south, however, will worsen once the poppy crop is harvested in coming weeks and the extremists deploy gunmen to protect their vast smuggling empire, officials, analysts and diplomats are predicting.