Go to home page

Sanctions Are Preventing Kabul from Implementing Opium Ban

Oct. 1 , 2021 (EIRNS)—As Schiller Institute Chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche said in a recent tweet, every day of frozen assets and sanctions against the Taliban government expands the power of the foreign heroin-trafficking networks that get the big money, and domestic drug lords, who tax opium farmers.

The Telegraph in London interviewed some farmers in the opium-growing region of Helmand province who say they are preparing to plant poppies again. “If the Taliban wants to ban poppy cultivation, we want them to make a good government and prepare economic growth jobs and everything. If they can’t do that, we will grow opium,” a farmer said.

In order to implement their ban, the Taliban need to finance crop substitution, which had wiped out the opium crop in 2000 in coordination with the program designed by then director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Pino Arlacchi until 2001. Thus, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and others who are imposing sanctions on Afghanistan are responsible for the continuation of narcotics production.

Increased heroin production is not the only danger looming from a continuation of the sanctions. The report, “Methamphetamine from Afghanistan: Signals Indicate That Europe Should Be Better Prepared,” issued yesterday by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), warns that European nations should also be prepared for a possible flood of extremely cheap, pure methamphetamine now being produced in Afghanistan. Large-scale production of methamphetamine took off in Afghanistan around 2016, when producers began to use a local plant, ephedra, which grows in abundance in the central highlands, to produce ephedrine, a precursor for methamphetamines, very cheaply. Much is still to be learned about the production and trafficking of meth from Afghanistan, the EMCDDA cautions, but it found that “simple chemistry and low-cost chemicals and equipment appear to have enabled increasing numbers of farmers to enter the business, ‘cooking’ the crops and extracting ephedrine in empty buildings within their own household compounds or in abandoned compounds nearby.”

The EMCDDA reports that the study was prepared before the Taliban takeover, and “the fieldwork conducted in this project found no indications that the Taliban were actively involved either in ephedrine production from ephedra plants or in methamphetamine production or trafficking activities,” their only apparent involvement found being, as with opium, collecting taxes. But as the EMCDDA acknowledges: “An economic crisis in Afghanistan could result in higher levels of drug production,” including emphatically that of methamphetamines.

Back to top    Go to home page clear