AFGHANISTAN

Taliban Forbids Opium Cultivation, but Charges Tithes on Products

The name and history of Taliban creation are associated with opium and drug trafficking, along with the implementation of strict and extreme religious practices. This spring, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, the leader of this group, issued an order prohibiting the cultivation, production, purchase, and sale of narcotics. But the findings of Hasht-e Subh Daily show that the local officials of the Taliban in the provinces have not prevented poppy cultivation at all, and they have collected tithes from the poppy harvest this year.

According to the findings of Hasht-e Subh Daily, the local officials of the Taliban have collected more than 50 Saer [each 7Kg] of opium under the title of “Ushr or tithe” from the poppy crops of eight villages in Badakhshan. The Taliban, who control the drug markets, also collect taxes for buying and selling opium juice [poppy tears].

Meanwhile, the Taliban claim the rule of Islamic Sharia in Afghanistan. According to religious teachings, the drug trade is haram and it is not permissible to collect a tithe from drugs. On the other hand, the Taliban have not planned a clear and transparent solution to collect a tithe from agricultural products and they do not provide any services to farmers and the needy in return for the tithe. The findings of Hasht-e Subh Daily still show that the buying and selling of opium are completely free in the western provinces of the country.

Residents of several villages in the Argo district of Badakhshan province confirmed to Hasht-e Subh Daily that the local officials of the Taliban have collected some of their opium products under the name of “tithe”. Sources in the Argo district of Badakhshan province, who do not want to be mentioned in the report due to fear of the Taliban, say that the Taliban, in addition to collecting tithes from other crops, have also taken tithes from opium crops. They say that the buying and selling of drugs are free in all districts of Badakhshan province, including the Argo district, and they have cultivated poppy and sold its juice this year.

Argo district has 214 villages. According to residents, opium has been cultivated in most of these villages this year, but Hasht-e Subh Daily has found out that the Taliban have taken more than 50 Saer [each 7Kg] opium tithes from these villages. The residents of Argo district still claim that the Taliban have collected tithes of opium from all areas of this district this year. But Hasht-e Subh Daily has only access to the tithe figures collected from the villages of Barlas, Arghand, Shahmari, Do Ghalat, Dehghankhane, Nawbad Gandecheshmeh, Khaksar, and Shatak.

Based on the information from the sources, this year, the Taliban officials have collected opium tithes from the village of Barlas (9 Saer), Arghand (12 Saer), Shahmari (4.5 Saer), Dehghankhane (3 Saer), Gandecheshmeh Navabad (17 Pau[4 Paus equals 1Kg), Khaksar (3.5 Saer), Shatak (2.5 Saer), but they emphasize that they have collected 10 Saer [each 7Kg] tithes only from Dughalat village. They also state that the opium collected from the villages is confiscated before reaching the district center. As an example, a source said that the Taliban took 12 Saer[each 7Kg] of opium from Arghand village, but this amount was reported to the district as 9 Saer[each 7Kg]. According to the source, before these figures reach the local officials of the Taliban in Faizabad the capital of the province, at least half of them get confiscated.

One of the residents of the Argo district told Hasht-e Subh Daily: “The Taliban people are in the villages, and they know the amount of opium in each house, people collect their opium tithe without any disagreement and hand it over to the person in charge of the Taliban.” According to him, the Taliban commanders each appoint a person responsible in their area of his ​​influence, and this person is chosen from areas where he has full awareness of the area.

Another resident of this district, talking to Hasht-e Subh Daily, says that the Taliban not only take the tithe from the opium harvest but also take their “right” when they sell it. According to him, the Taliban collect 200 afghanis tax for every kilogram of opium in the market of Argo district and they have a very good income from it.

This Argo resident adds that the price of opium has also increased in this district. According to him, the buying and selling of opium in this district are done with “Pau” [4 Paus equal to 1Kg] and each “Pau” of opium is sold for 10,000 Afghani. While this amount of opium was sold to around 6-8 thousand Afghanis last year. However, if an average of 5 Saer of opium has been taken as tithe from each of the 214 villages in the Argo District of Badakhshan province, this year the Taliban have collected about 1070 Saer[each 7Kg] of opium from Argo District alone.

Meanwhile, some residents of this district confirm that many heroin production and processing factories are also operating in this district. But Hasht-e Subh Daily has not been able to get reliable information about the activities of these factories.

Previously, the residents of Farah province confirmed in a report to Hasht-e Subh daily that, After the order of Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada the supreme leader of the Taliban, the market for selling and buying opium has not only stagnated but has become more prosperous. According to the report of Hasht-e Subh Daily from Farah province, most of the local commanders of the Taliban have grown opium in this province and have made a lot of profit from selling it. Based on the findings of this report, a kilogram of opium juice was bought and sold in Farah between 3 and 4 thousand afghanis last year, but this year, each kilogram of opium juice is traded for up to 27 thousand afghanis in special markets.

On the other hand, reports from the northern provinces of Afghanistan indicate that people have turned to opium cultivation this fall. Hasht-e Subh Daily, while talking to some residents of Balkh and Jawzjan provinces, found out that people are optimistic about the increase in the price of opium and its results, and have decided to grow opium this fall season. Also, based on the report of this newspaper, the Taliban in Ghazni province, after harvesting the results of this narcotic plant, destroyed it and showed it to the media.

This is even though according to religious teachings, the cultivation, production, and trade of drugs are prohibited. Ayatollah Mohaqeq Nasab, one of the religious scholars, said in a conversation with Hasht-e Subh Daily: “Taking taxes or collecting tithes from opium is both harams and is promoting haram.” According to him: “Any kind of planting, possessing and harvesting opium, as well as buying, selling, distributing and transporting opium is forbidden.” Mr. Mohagheq Nasab adds that there is nothing wrong with buying and selling opium for good purposes such as medicine, animal fodder, bandage, disinfection, etc.; Because opium, hemp, and other similar plants are clean and pure plants; Therefore, there is no reason for prohibiting its transactions.

This religious scholar points out that the narcotic drugs that are derived from opium and its derivatives, have challenged the Islamic societies and especially the people of Afghanistan with gradual death, and therefore, a practical, intellectual and cultural struggle against this social poison is necessary.

On the other hand, religious scholars believe that tithes are collected from wealthy people in the community and distributed to the needy in the region. However, the Taliban have not provided any help to the needy in the areas from which tithes were collected.

The free cultivation and sale of narcotic drugs have increased in Afghanistan, while previously the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, issued a decree in the month of April of the current year and ordered: the “Cultivation, production, and sale of narcotics is prohibited throughout Afghanistan.” Also, according to the Doha agreement between the Taliban and the United States of America, the Taliban have pledged that in addition to fighting against terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, they will also fight against the cultivation, production, and trafficking of narcotics, but after a year of this group’s rule over Afghanistan, not only have practical steps not been taken to eradicate drugs; In addition, a huge amount of income has been gained by the Taliban.

The leader of the Taliban has issued an order to fight against narcotics, while before him Mullah Mohammad Omar, the former leader and founder of this group, had issued an order to ban the cultivation, production, and trafficking of opium in the month of July 2000. Even the Taliban received 43 million dollars in cash from the international community in the year 2000 to fight against drugs.

Meanwhile, Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Commander-in-Chief of India’s Western Navy, said on Tuesday, May 5, that the amount of drug trafficking from Afghanistan has increased in the region, especially in the Indian Ocean. He said: “Drug trade has increased in terms of quantity and quality after America’s withdrawal from the country. Most of Afghanistan’s drugs enter the world market through Pakistan and Iran.”

Previously, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime also said that the economic value of illegal drugs in Afghanistan in the years 2021/2022 was estimated between 1.8 and 2.7 billion dollars; The total value of narcotics “including domestic consumption and exports, constitutes between 9 and 14 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP.” In its annual review, this organization explained that the estimated 6,800 tons of opium produced in the year 1400 [solar year equals 2021/2022] were eight percent more than in 2019.

Based on this report, the most important change in the field of opium cultivation in one year of the Taliban ruling over the country was the increase in the price of opium.

Earlier, Tajikistan government officials also said that the amount of drug trafficking has increased by almost 69% compared to the year 1400 [solar year equal to 2021/2022].


Author: Amin Kawa – Senior Reporter and Analyst, Hasht-e Subh Daily

The post Taliban Forbids Opium Cultivation, but Charges Tithes on Products appeared first on Hasht-e Subh Daily.



Source: Hasht-e Subh Daily

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