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Afghan Taliban Announce Nationwide Ban on Poppy Cultivation

April 4, 2022 (EIRNS)—On Sunday, April 3, the Afghan Taliban announced a ban on cultivating opium poppy flowers, which are used to make heroin, the Washington, D.C. newspaper The Hill, reported. The Taliban order also forbids the production, use and transit of other narcotics.

Quickly registering disapproval in Washington, The Hill claims the Taliban move is viewed as courting global approval, but also puts farmers’ livelihoods at risk until a new crop can be substituted. The irony could be noted that the Taliban’s drug ban followed by only a few days, the U.S. Congress effort at legalization of marijuana.

Nonetheless the edict has force. “As per the decree of the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, all Afghans are informed that from now on, cultivation of poppy has been strictly prohibited across the country,” the Taliban’s supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada reportedly announced at a news conference yesterday. Akhundzada’s order warned that “if anyone violates the decree, the crop will be destroyed immediately, and the violator will be treated according to the Sharia law.”

AP reported that a 2021 UN report said that income from opiates in Afghanistan was between $1.8 billion and $2.7 billion, and added that much larger sums are accrued along illicit drug supply chains outside Afghanistan. The report included that Afghanistan accounted for about 85% of global opium production in 2020, and supplied 80% of all global users.

Around 2000, near the end of its last period ruling over Afghanistan around 2000, the Taliban banned poppy production.

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