The Taliban announced to farmers earlier this week that they may return to opium production if the United States attacks. The Taliban had placed a ban on opium production in 2000 declaring it was “un-Islamic,” but many experts speculated that was just to drive the price up from $30 per kilogram to $500 per kilogram. The Taliban had large stockpiles of opium at that time. Earlier this year, the United States gave the Taliban $40 million as part of a drug suppression program, urging a conversion from poppy cultivation to agrarian practices. Of course, the ban did not reduce the amount of opium going out of the country.
Under the Taliban, Afghanistan rapidly replaced Burma as the number one producer of opium in the world. Currently, the Taliban produces some 70 percent of the world’s opium, which is refined in laboratories to make heroin. Last year, about 90 percent of the heroin supply in Europe was produced from poppies grown in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and much of the heroin on the streets in the US also originates in Taliban-controlled poppy fields. The Taliban taxes poppy production, taking a percentage from local farmers who grow the flowers.
Join the Feminist Majority Foundation in telling the US government that, with the drive to end terrorism, we must make sure that restoration of the rights of Afghan women and girls and their freedom and safety are not forgotten and are a central objective of U.S. foreign policy. Visit the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan
Media Resources: Boston Globe, 9/26/01 and Feminist Majority Foundation
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