Taliban Outlaw Opium Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban introduced on Sunday that cultivating opium poppy in Afghanistan was banned, a transfer that may have far-reaching penalties for the numerous farmers who’ve turned to the illicit crop as a brutal drought and financial disaster have gripped the nation.

Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi, the prime minister’s administrative deputy, learn the official decree to native and worldwide media throughout a information convention on the Ministry of Inside. Excessive-ranking Taliban officers, together with the performing inside minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, have been current.

“All compatriots are knowledgeable from the date of the issuance of this decree, poppy cultivation is completely prohibited in the entire nation and nobody can attempt to domesticate the plant,” mentioned the decree, issued by the Taliban’s chief, Haibatullah Akhundzada. “If somebody violates this, his cultivation will likely be destroyed and the violator will likely be handled in keeping with Islamic Regulation.”

The Taliban’s determination to ban opium poppy in Afghanistan, which accounts for about 80 % of the world’s provide of opium, comes because the group is below rising worldwide stress after a collection of decrees concentrating on ladies, together with their potential to attend secondary faculty.

The decree issued on Sunday additionally banned the use, sale, switch, buy, import and export of wine, heroin and different medication.

After the Taliban toppled the Western-backed authorities in August, the insurgents turned rulers indicated a need to ban the manufacturing of opium, however mentioned shortly after that there have been no plans to cease or eradicate cultivation, acknowledging that Afghans have been in the midst of an financial disaster.

Many farmers had deliberate for some type of ban after the Taliban’s return to energy and knew that rising the crop — which will be saved for a while after harvesting — can be an excellent funding as provide dwindled and costs rose. The Taliban’s announcement on Sunday got here through the poppy harvest.

In Kandahar Province, white flowering poppy fields lined Freeway 1, which cuts via the area. The crop is combined in with wheat and grapes. The harvest is underway, with groups of staff slicing the bulbs and scraping the milky resin that may finally be opium. Virtually each farmer appears to have devoted a portion of their plots to the crop.

Poppy farmers within the space, which is taken into account the Taliban’s birthplace, mentioned on Sunday that they have been unaware of any sort of ban.

The Taliban have had an advanced relationship with the crop. Throughout their first time in energy, the group made a number of halfhearted makes an attempt to limit opium earlier than banning its cultivation on non secular grounds within the late 1990s and in 2000. However after they have been toppled following the U.S. invasion in 2001, the Taliban turned to the crop for funding, utilizing the earnings to gas their battle machine for twenty years.

Safiullah Padshah reported from Kabul, and Thomas Gibbons-Neff from Kharkiv, Ukraine. Bryan Denton and Yaqoob Akbary contributed reporting from Kandahar, Afghanistan.

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