Taliban bans poppy cultivation — Analysis

Militant group follows through on promise to outlaw opium production in Afghanistan, world’s biggest supplier of illicit heroin

Mullah Hibatullah Akhiundzada the Taliban leader has declared illegal the cultivation of poppies, which is the main source of the sap used to make heroin and morphine. The decree was issued Sunday. It fulfills its promises of banning the drug, after it seized power last year. According to estimates, Afghanistan accounted for 90 percent of all global opium exports in 2021. 

“If anyone violates the decree, the crop will be destroyed immediately and the violator will be treated according to the Sharia law,” Taliban deputy spokesman Inamullah Samangani tweeted on Sunday. Additionally, Inamullah Samangani, the deputy spokesperson for Taliban, tweeted on Sunday. 

Taliban has expected harsh resistance within the group against the ban and has reportedly said that there had been a rise in the number of farmers cultivating poppies in previous months, according to Reuters’ sources in the militant group. 

On Sunday, Afghan farmers collected their first opium harvest of the season in the southern province of Helmand, in Taliban’s political heartland. According to Reuters, poppy prices had more than doubled before rumors of a ban.

Farmers will be the hardest hit by any repressions of poppy cultivation. Taliban made a plea for asylum in August. “international assistance”to supply them with other crops than the poppy fields. The United Nations responded to the call for actions by calling on them to fulfill their pledges. 

Taliban, who seized Kabul’s capital last year and returned to power, announced that its government will return to the zero tolerance drug policy. They ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, before being overthrown by the US during their invasion.

The Taliban needs foreign help to eradicate opium trafficking, spokesman tells Russian media

The world received 90% of its heroin and opium from Afghanistan in 2013. The Taliban controlled areas were the main source of heroin and opium production. This militant group was believed to have taxed drugs in their twenty-year-old insurgency.  

Abdul Salam Hanafi (Deputy Prime Minister) has denied that Taliban were involved in poppy growing. “How come it was exported all over the world when they (US-led forces) had full control over Afghanistan?”

UN officials stated that Taliban could have earned $400 million in drug revenue between 2018 and 2019. UN data show that the Taliban have planted more poppies than ever before in 2017. This is four times as many acres of land in four years. 

UN anticipates another Asian country to increase poppy cultivation. Myanmar is the former largest heroin producer before Afghanistan, which became cheaper, will be doing so. 

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