CAIRO, November 15. /TASS/. The volumes of opium production have been on the increase significantly this year in the southern regions of Afghanistan compared to previous seasons, TOLOnews reported on Monday.
According to the news channel, amid the gravest economic crisis in the country opium poppy cultivation is the only opportunity to make a profit for the locals, including Kandahar and Helmand provinces.
"Despite the drought this year, the cultivation of opium is favorable to us, as many families have large debts, and there is no other adequate job," the channel quotes a farmer in Kandahar Mohammad Wali.
In turn, the radical Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) have been trying to solve the problem and provide jobs to the country’s residents. "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the name the Taliban use for their country — TASS) in coordination with various international organizations and in cooperation with the international community have been trying to provide alternative work to those who cultivate opium poppies," Inamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban's cultural commission, said without specifying the measures.
According to the UN, in 2020, the area of land used for illicit opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan increased by 37% compared to the previous year. This is the third-highest figure ever registered in the country. By the end of 2020, the Islamic Republic accounted for 85% of global opium production, which, among other things, made up about 6-11% of the country’s GDP. Furthermore, the number of drug addicts among the adult population in Afghanistan is about 2.4 million people, or 12.6% of the adult population of the country.
In 1996-2001, when the Taliban was in power in the country, the main source of income for the Afghan government was the production and smuggling of drugs. Despite the State High Commission for Drug Control established by them at that time, more than 96% of all opium poppies were produced in Afghanistan under the Taliban’s jurisdiction.