Opium production in Afghanistan is booming despite repeated attempts by the Western world to stop production. It provides food for many Afghan farmers and represents a large part of the country’s income sources. But 20 years ago production almost came to a complete halt. During his last term in power, the Taliban banned the cultivation of poppies for the production of opium and the Afghans obeyed.
Now the Taliban say a new ban is underway, but to maintain it they need the help of the outside world.
“There will be less opium in the world,” said Khairullah Shinwari, an activist and supporter of the Taliban.
Need other cultures
He says opium has flowed from Afghanistan in recent years because members of the former US-backed government were themselves involved in the opium trade.
– So there was no commitment because you had your own interest and you made money from it. They got international support and assistance, everything, but they couldn’t ban the crops because they had a vested interest. The Taliban are determined, but need international help.
Help is a prerequisite
Aid, which many countries withdrew after the Taliban took power, is a prerequisite for getting rid of opium cultivation, he says.
– The Taliban can ban cultivation, but to end it, an alternative is needed for farmers so that they can grow something else and support themselves.
Watch the clip to hear Khairullah Shinwari talk about the Taliban’s opium plans and learn more about the Taliban’s relationship to opium in Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Talibanknarket in SVT Play.
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