Taliban Offers to Cut Opium Production in Exchange for U.N. Recognition
Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has agreed to eliminate opium production in Afghanistan in exchange for U.N. recognition.
Taliban's Shariat radio reported that Omar told United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brami, "If the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) is accorded recognition without condition by the U.N., the Emirate will seriously ban unconditionally cultivation of poppy throughout the country."
The United Nations Drugs Control program reported that Afghanistan produced approximately 3,269 tons of opium in 1988 and 2,800 tons in 1997. The Taliban imposes a death penalty for citizens who use drugs, yet openly allow the export of opium.
According to the AFP, a U.N. report released on Tuesday said that production of the poppies used to make opium was down 25% this year, but the decrease was not intentional. Bad weather takes the credit for this year's reduced yields.
Media Resources: AFP and Reuters - October 6, 1998]