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Opium Production Rises by 32% in Taliban-Ruled Afghanistan

Immigration News

Saqalain Eqbal
Saqalain Eqbal
Saqalain Eqbal is an Online Editor for Khaama Press. He is a Law graduate from The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).
Photo: Getty Images

Despite the Taliban government’s ban on drugs, opium cultivation increased by 32% in Afghanistan in 2022, according to a report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

According to the UNODC report released on Tuesday, November 1, “the 2022 opium crop in Afghanistan is the most profitable in years,” with cultivation increasing by one-third and prices surging even as the country is encircled by escalating humanitarian and economic crises.

The UNODC said that opium poppy cultivation climbed by 32% in Afghanistan from the previous year to 233,000 hectares, making the 2022 harvest the third-largest cultivated area since monitoring began.

Afghan farmers are “trapped” in the illegal opiate industry, while seizure events around Afghanistan imply that opiate trafficking remains in place, said Ghada Waly, executive director of UNODC.

Nevertheless, opium poppy growing occupied one-fifth of the province of Helmand’s arable land in southern Afghanistan, according to the UNODC report.

Following the announcement of the poppy cultivation ban in April, the report says that opium prices have skyrocketed. Sales of opium increased Afghan farmers’ income from $425 million in 2021 to $1.4 billion in 2022, a more than threefold, jaw-dropping increase.

This comes as the Taliban authorities outlawed the cultivation and narcotics including opium poppy in April 2022.

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