Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Afghan Farmers Fear For Livelihoods As Taliban Bans Opium

< 1 min

Gandhara, 14 April 2022

The RFE/RL Afghanistan report quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig:

Thomas Ruttig, [former] co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, an independent think tank, says most farmers grow poppies to stay out of poverty.

“This ban might push them back into poverty, which might have consequences,” he told RFE/RL. 
He says the Taliban won the support of the farmers in southern Afghanistan by acting as a protector of their poppy fields during their two-decade insurgency against the Western-backed Afghan government.

Ruttig says many Afghan farmers will try to circumvent the ban by “using connections to the local Taliban leaders or just plant the poppy somewhere they hope they won’t patrol.” 

He saw the Taliban implemented a similar ban in late 2000, which reduced raw opium production from more than 6,000 metric tons to under 100 in 2001.

“Then and now, the Taliban leadership is serious in implementing what they say is based on Islamic Shari’a law but, as individuals, they often do other things,” he says.