Afghanistan is currently the largest producer of heroin, supplying between 80 and 90 percent of the world’s production, making the drug policies of the new Taliban-led government more important.
The price of heroin, addiction levels, and the level of drug-related violence and smuggling will be affected by the new rulers of a country that counts opium production as one of the largest industries.
An international effort in the last 20 years to eradicate poppy cultivation, whose sand has been refined into morphine and heroin, has failed, and the area is cultivated nearly four times as much as in 2002.
He described AFP’s challenges and difficulties in combating the heroin trade:
Why do Afghan farmers grow poppy opium?
“For farmers who do not have any another farming services, poppy farming is a good choice for them. It gives all types of importance. If you have land, you can start poppies, and you get a good income from it.
Some products are hard to find in the market. With poppies you can easily sell opium on the farm, traders come to you. And although poppy farming is illegal, there are no weak rules and regulations. “
Which countries use Afghanistan heroin?
“Afghanistan is widely distributed worldwide, with the exception of the United States, which is produced by Mexico, and there are also crops in Colombia.
The main markets are in Western Europe, but Afghanistan also distributes Asian and African markets on a small scale.
Countries around Afghanistan face the effects of trafficking in criminals in their home country and there is usually a significant impact on heroin use in trafficking countries. “
Je! How did the Taliban use heroin?
“Their income came from the opium tax. In many villages, farmers were forced to pay the opium sales tax of about 6.0 percent. Depending on the years and hectares cultivated, this increased to $ 15-30 million per year.
But on top of that, if you control the area, you can also pay taxes on the manufacture and illegal shipping of food retailers, and assuming it has been taxed in the same way, annual revenue could go up to $ 100 million or more. “
The Taliban banned poppy farming in 2000. What happened?
“Opium cultivation grew from 82,000 hectares in 2000 to 8,000 hectares in 2001, and those 8,000 hectares were in the northern part of the country which was not under the control of the Taliban. So they were able to legalize the ban..
It had a significant impact on the price of opium, which increased from $ 30 per kilogram to a maximum of $ 700 per kilogram.
The problem has not been resolved, however, because the real causes of the entire opium economy have not been addressed. “
Je! Is opium very important for the Afghan agricultural industry?
“Most farmers are very poor. They are under pressure because in 2018 there was a drought, in 2019 there was a flood, then we had Covid. Food prices have risen.
Their chances in life have not been improved. The infrastructure has not improved or improved very little. If they can’t grow opium, there will have to be another way for people to get jobs, income and food.
People often think that the illicit drug culture makes everyone rich. This is not the case. It makes some people very rich, but most people don’t get much out of it. For them, it is the only good way to live. “