Taliban Announces Poppy Production Ban

    Image copyright: AP Photos [via CNN]

    The Facts

    • The Taliban has announced a ban on poppy production in Afghanistan, warning farmers that their crops will be burned and that they will be jailed if they continue to harvest the plant.

    • The PM's administrative deputy, Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi, announced the decree at a news conference on Sun.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Opium production helped fund the Taliban's insurgency against the US and local farmers grew sympathetic to them because they permitted cultivation when the US and its allies were burning crops. Just like the drug that the poppy yields, kicking the habit of financial dependence will be hard for the Taliban.

    Narrative B

    Some experts have pointed out that the drug has largely been exported abroad, and that the greatest profits made in their production are by criminal gangs outside of the Afghanistan. The influence of poppy growth on Taliban success is easy to overstate, especially considering that a study this year found that the organization raised far more by taxing legal sectors like transit goods and fuel than drugs.

    Narrative C

    Eradicating the drug trade was at one point on the top agenda for the US and its western allies in Afghanistan. They failed miserably, allowing the product to proliferate in the global market and driving down prices, worsening the opioid crisis in the US by making the drugs more accessible.

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