Afghan officials destroy 98 tons of seized opium, liquor

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan authorities say they have destroyed 98 tons of seized narcotics, mostly raw opium but also heroin and hashish, as well as liquor.

The contraband was burned on Tuesday on the outskirts of the capital, Kabul.

Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, deputy interior minister for the counter-narcotics police, says all the drugs and alcoholic beverages were confiscated this year.

Ahmadi said there were 579 cases in which contraband material was confiscated. He says 702 people were arrested for trafficking, including 28 women.

Opium poppy cultivation is rising across the country, according to a joint survey by the U.N. and the Afghan government.

Billions of dollars have been spent to curb drug trafficking in the past decade, including programs encouraging farmers to switch to other cash crops such as wheat, fruit and saffron.

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