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Afghanistan’s Taliban announce ban on poppy production


KABUL: Afghanistanjudgment of Taliban Sunday announced a ban on opium production, even as farmers across the country begin harvesting the bright red flowers, producing the opium used to make heroin.
The order warned farmers that their crops would be burned and they could be jailed if they proceeded with the harvest. The ban is reminiscent of the previous rule of the Taliban in the late 1990s when the religious movement banned opium production. At the time, the ban had been enforced nationwide for two years. The UN verifies that manufacturing has been wiped out in most of the country.
However, after their ouster in 2001, farmers in many parts of the country are said to have plowed their wheat fields – which are almost impossible to market because of the lack of roads and infrastructure. – and went back to producing opium poppy.
During the last years of Taliban rule, wheat rotted in the fields because farmers could not bring it to the market to sell and grind it into flour.
Poppies are the main source of income for millions of small farmers and day laborers who can earn up to $300 a month harvesting them and extracting the opium.
Today, Afghanistan is the world’s largest opium producer and by 2021, before the Taliban takeover, has produced more than 6,000 tons of opium, a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported to be capable of producing 320 tons of pure heroin.
Afghanistan produces more opium than all the opium producing countries combined and last year was the sixth consecutive year of record opium harvest. That is the case even as the United States and the international community have spent billions of dollars to eradicate opium production. The Taliban is believed to have collected millions of dollars in taxes on farmers and middle farmers to move their drugs outside of Afghanistan, and high-ranking US-backed government officials have been implicated in the trade. Drug sales are flourishing.
Washington spent more than $8 billion trying to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan during their nearly 20-year war, which ended with the return of the Taliban in August.
Nearly 80% of heroin produced from Afghanistan’s opium production reaches Europe via Central Asia and Pakistan.
In desperate poverty-stricken Afghanistan, a ban on opium production will further impoverish the country’s poorest citizens.
According to a 2021 United Nations report, opium income in Afghanistan is a whopping $1.8 to $2.7 billion, more than 7% of the country’s GDP. The same report says “ illegal drug supply chains outside of Afghanistan ” earn more than that.
The Taliban’s ban comes as the country is facing a humanitarian crisis that prompted the United Nations to ask for $4.4 billion last month because 95% of Afghans do not have enough to eat. The ban, while hitting drug manufacturers hard, could be devastating to small farmers who depend on their opium production to survive. It is difficult to see how the Taliban rulers have been able to create alternative crops and finance Afghan farmers when their economies are in free fall and international development money has stopped working.
Opium production and income is often used as a form of banking among Afghanistan’s poorest, who use the promise of next year’s harvest to buy staples like flour, sugar, cooking oil and heating oil.
The ordinance also outlaws the “ transportation, trade, export and import of all kinds of drugs such as alcohol, heroin, K pills, hashish… drug factories. in Afghanistan. is strictly prohibited. ”
When the Taliban last ruled, they hired village elders and mosque clerics to enforce the ban, and in villages that ignored the ban, the Taliban arrested elders and clerics, as well as farmers. violate. Therefore, elders and missionaries are encouraged to suppress opium production in their territories.
Spokesperson of the Taliban Zabihullah Mujahid announced the ban at a press conference in the capital.





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