Why the Taliban’s opium ban will probably fail

Afghanistan’s opium production may be 90 per cent down this year, but it’s likely to bounce back thanks to soaring prices and global demand, writes Orzala Nemat.

The World Today Published 28 July 2023 3 minute READ

Dr Orzala Nemat

Research Associate, Humanitarian Policy Group, ODI

Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium, making up more than 80 per cent of the world’s opium harvest. Opium is mainly used to produce heroin and 95 per cent of the heroin made from Afghan opium reaches European markets.

But drugs originating in the country are not limited to export markets. The number of drug users within Afghanistan has risen to about four million, according to some sources. While the opium poppy has been receiving most attention, cannabis cultivation and hashish use as well as increasing levels of synthetic drug production and consumption are important features of the complex drug economy in Afghanistan.

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