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Is the Taliban Winning the Fight against Drug Trafficking?

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The Taliban (an organization banned in Russia), which seized power in Afghanistan a year ago, have pledged a tough fight against drugs, saying the cultivation, transportation and distribution of opium poppies are punishable by death. However, many experts had already raised doubts as to whether the Islamists would succeed in tackling the international drug business, or whether they themselves would become part of it.

This structure had already ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, with very conflicting memories during that period. The Taliban had already made anti-narcotics statements: while in power, in July 2000 the Taliban declared that opium was contrary to Islam, introduced the death penalty for growing and distributing drugs and ordered the eradication of opium poppy crops. As a result, cultivation dropped from 82,100 hectares to 7,600 in one year, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). However, with the start of the US military intervention in the country in 2001, poppy cultivation fell back to 74,000 hectares and has been rising ever since.

According to reports, since the start of hostilities with the US and the intensification on all fronts, the Taliban themselves have been involved in the drug business, because they needed money to buy weapons and military equipment and pay for their mercenaries. And the opium poppy tax was an important source of revenue for the Taliban, although they deny it. It should not be forgotten, however, that the withdrawal of international aid after the arrival of the Taliban brought down the Afghan economy and was an additional reason for the population’s return to the drug trade.

In addition, the long-term involvement of........

© New Eastern Outlook

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