KABUL -

The leader of the Afghan Taliban movement, Maulvi Hebatullah Akhundzadeh, decided to ban all kinds of agriculture, trade and industry and vowed to apply the law to those involved in violating this decision.

This came in an interview with Afghan Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi.

Hanafi called on the international community and international organizations to support his country in bringing about beneficial agricultural change, instead of narcotics.

In his speech, he cited verses from the Noble Qur’an and prophetic hadiths confirming the sanctity of everything that is narcotic and harmful to man and society.

Hanafi accused officials in previous governments of being involved in the cultivation and trade of drugs, saying that 95% of the narcotics cultivated and produced were in areas under the rule of the former ruling authority.

He denied the involvement of the Taliban movement during the past two decades in the cultivation of drugs, although foreign reports accused the movement of opium cultivation.

After Hanafi's speech, Afghan government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid read the text of the decision, which recalls the decision of Mullah Muhammad Omar, the former leader of the Taliban movement more than two decades ago, when he banned drugs during the movement's first era.

Millions of addicts

Aqd al-Haq Hamkar, the Afghan Deputy Interior Minister for Drug Control, stated that there are 3.5 million addicts in the country, of whom 20,000 are detained in treatment and rehabilitation centers, after two decades of increasing drug production in an organized and widespread manner.

Hamkar indicated that his government is working to build a complex to treat drug addicts sufficient for about 30,000 people, saying that the past eight months have witnessed the arrest of a number of major drug dealers in the country.

The announcement of the decision was attended by Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, Minister of Minerals Shahabuddin Dilawar, a number of ambassadors, hundreds of journalists, Afghan government officials and members of the Taliban movement.

Members of the Taliban government attended a conference to announce the decision to ban drugs (Al-Jazeera)

big money

It is noteworthy that the cultivation and trade of drugs constitute 6% to 11% of the gross domestic product of Afghanistan, according to a UN report issued last November.

The report estimated revenues from trade and agriculture in opium or drugs in general in Afghanistan at between 1.8 and 2.7 billion dollars during the past year.

A large part of this money moves in drug trade chains outside Afghanistan, and a proportion of it pays royalties to many parties internally, to protect this trade and pass its shipments.

 The report indicates that the gains of the local market do not exceed 43 million dollars, while the farmers of narcotic plants earned 425 million dollars.

The fight against opium cultivation in Afghanistan is a file that concerns many countries. According to the UN report, the opium exported from Afghanistan constitutes about 85% of the opium distributed globally, according to the figures for 2020, in most countries of the world, including East and South Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This means providing the drug to about 25 million addicts and users of opiates.

 The report bases its conclusions on the smuggled shipments that were seized by the authorities in neighboring or distant countries on various continents, including Western Europe, Australia and African countries.

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