Taliban Bans Poppy Cultivation Despite Afghanistan Reeling Under Severe Economic Crisis
Poppy cultivation has remained a primary source of income for the people of Afghanistan as the country contributes 87% of the world's total production. The last time they came to power twenty years ago, the Taliban* had banned poppy cultivation but faced opposition from a large segment of the population.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the Taliban calls their new government, has announced an absolute ban on poppy cultivation, a move that will have serious consequences for millions of farmers who are enduring second drought in the last four years.
Poppies require less water for cultivation and earn handsome money, as an estimate suggests 80 percent of products are supplied to European nations.
"All Afghans are informed that from now on, the cultivation of poppies has been strictly prohibited across the country. If anyone violates the decree, the crop will be destroyed immediately and the violator will be treated according to Sharia law", Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi, the prime minister's administrative deputy, said.
The decision comes amid intense pressure from the international community
to stop poppy cultivation, as they claim that the money earned from it is used to fund terrorism.
After taking over Kabul, the Taliban had assured farmers that it would not ban cultivation, acknowledging the economic crisis that most underwent.
The group has also banned the usage, transportation, trade, export, and import of narcotics such as heroin and hashish.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) claims that the opium business contributes about 30 percent of Afghanistan's annual national income.
According to different estimates, the volume of illegal opiate production has surged from anywhere between 17 to 40 times since 2001, when US troops invaded Afghanistan.
*Organisation under UN sanctions for terrorist activities.
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