Taliban bans drug cultivation in Afghanistan

Taliban imposed a moratorium on narcotics cultivation in Afghanistan, the world’s largest opium producer.

According to an edict from the Taliban’s top leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, “as per the decree of the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, all Afghans are told that cultivation of poppy has been severely outlawed across the country from now on.”

“If someone violates the decree, the crop will be destroyed immediately, and the culprit will be dealt with according to Sharia law,” the directive stated.

Other narcotics’ production, use, or shipment were likewise prohibited, according to the directive.

Drug control has been a significant demand of the world community of the Islamist group that took control of the country in August and is now seeking formal international recognition in order to lift sanctions that are obstructing banking, business, and growth.

According to experts, the Taliban prohibited poppy cultivation near the conclusion of their previous rule in 2000 in order to gain international legitimacy, but they suffered a backlash and eventually altered their minds.

Farmers and Taliban members told media that opium cultivation in Afghanistan has surged in recent months, with the UN estimating it to be worth $1.4 billion at its peak in 2017.

The country’s poor economic position has motivated people of the country’s south-eastern provinces to produce an illegal crop that might yield them bigger returns and faster than legal crops like wheat.

Taliban sources told media that the prohibition on poppy cultivation would face stiff opposition from some members within the group, and that the number of farmers planting poppy has increased in recent months.

On concerns that the Taliban might ban poppy planting, a farmer in Helmand who spoke on the condition of anonymity said poppy prices had already more than doubled in recent weeks. He did say, though, that he needed to grow poppy in order to support his family.

“Other crops simply aren’t profitable,” he explained.

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