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What Will Taliban Drug Policy Look Like?

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In an attempt to showcase humane foundations of its policies with the purpose to convince the international community to promptly recognize new Afghan authorities, the Taliban (banned in Russia) has been recently showcasing its alleged intentions to join the “merciless fight against drugs.”

It is common knowledge that this problem has been plaguing the country for many years, since most of the Afghan farmers earn their living by cultivating opium poppy used in manufacturing of psychotropic substances as a significant part of the opiates distributed by drug traffickers around the globe is produced on the Afghan territory. As a result, Afghanistan’s vast poppy fields are used to produce much of world’s heroin while the country has also become a major methamphetamine producer. All this contributes to drug addiction which is quite widespread throughout the country. It should be also borne in mind that illegal opium trade is an integral part of Afghan economy. Poppy production is a backbone of the Taliban’s economy, and most militants rely on the crops to make both ends meet. In public, however, the Taliban have always denied that they are in any way involved in drug trafficking.

In the wake of the Taliban takeover in August 2021, the radical movement urgently issued a number of decrees. One of them concerned the public health sector — the fight against drug addiction. Even when the Taliban was in power last time it sought to demonstrate that it was waging a large-scale campaign against drug addiction among the population with a heavy emphasis on, in particular, “traditional” methods: drug addicts were dipped into cold mountain rivers so that they would “sober up”; corporal punishment was also practiced. The Taliban never abandoned those methods as the country’s new authorities began to conduct regular mass raids at night time. One of those raids has recently got a detailed photo coverage from Al Jazeera. After being caught, drug addicts are either sent to rehab, or they would face........

© New Eastern Outlook

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