DUSHANBE, April 27, 2011, Asia-Plus -- According to the UNODC report, opiate production is expected to decline in Afghanistan this year, the Drug Control Agency (DCA) director Rustam Nazarov told reporters on April 27.

According to him, sixteen provinces in Afghanistan, including Balkh, Kunduz and Takhor bordering Tajikistan, are now reportedly free of opium.

“In the meantime, cannabis production is expected to increase in Afghanistan this year and hashish smuggling will increase correspondingly,” Nazarov noted.

Afghanistan, the world''s biggest producer of opium, is also a major producer of cannabis.

Cannabis accounted for more than 80 percent of the overall amount of narcotics seized in Tajikistan over the first three months of this year.  Nearly 1,500 kilograms of narcotics, including 1,200 kilograms of cannabis,  have been seized in the country over the report period.  Some 60 percent of the overall amount of narcotics has been seized in Khatlon province, the drug control chief stressed.