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Taliban leader bans cannabis cultivation in Afghanistan

The Taliban has announced a ban on the cultivation of hemp or cannabis in Afghanistan.

Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada issued an official order on Sunday saying that the cultivation of cannabis is prohibited across the country and in case of a violation, the plantation will be destroyed and violators will be punished according to Sharia rules.

“Cultivation in the whole country is completely banned and if anyone grows them, the plantation will be destroyed. The courts have also been ordered to punish the violators as per Sharia laws,” statement reads.

Cannabis is one of the most produced crops by farmers across the country, and Afghanistan became its top supplier in 2010, according to the UN.

Cannabis resin produced in Afghanistan has not only been found in neighbouring regions but also in Middle East, in parts of Central and Eastern Europe as well as in Central Asia and Caucasus as per the UN report.

The report highlights that Afghanistan is the second country mostly reported, after Morocco, as the origin of seized cannabis resin worldwide.

For years, Afghanistan has been the world’s largest producer of opium, a paste extracted from poppies and processed into heroin.

As per UNODC the current contraction of legit economic opportunities makes households even more vulnerable to engage in illicit activities such as cannabis cultivation.

According to report Afghanistan’s income from opiates in amounted to some $1.8-$2.7 billion in 2021. It further says that much larger money are accumulated along illicit drug supply chains outside Afghanistan.