There is growing evidence that the fundamentalist Taliban regime is heavily involved in Afghanistan's booming drug market. Afghanistan, believed to be the world's second-largest opium producer, has increased its poppy cultivation from 49,500 acres in 1992 to 99,200 acres in 1997. During that period, the Taliban seized control of over 90% of Afghanistan.
The Taliban has enjoyed huge profits by taxing both those who grow poppies and those who refine the poppy into opium. A U.S. official stated that, "The Taliban tax opium, they tax morphine, and they levy fees on transport. They reap tens of millions of dollars a year from the drug trade..."
In 1996, after the capture of Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul, the Taliban made promises to do away with all poppy cultivation. Nothing has been done to fulfill these promises, and opium production continues to thrive.
Media Resources: Washington Post - October 5, 1998
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