Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Afghanistan: Abschied vom Opium

2 min

Deutsche Welle, 20 December 2023

This analysis of the Taleban’s ban of opium and other drugs contains some quotes from AAN’s Thomas Ruttig. On the question whether the religious arguments with which the ban had been justified were plausible, he says:

“In my opinion, the fact that the Taliban are also harming themselves with this ban suggests that this justification is not a pretext. After all, the opium economy represents a large part of Afghanistan’s overall economy and thus brings in a lot of taxes.

According to his information, the population grudgingly accepts the ban, said Thomas Ruttig. “Most Afghans do not oppose an order based on Islamic legal interpretation. In their view, this would mean that they would be opposing Islam itself. “This logic was also the problem of the previous government. This was not viewed as truly Islamic. That is why in the eyes of the population it had no legitimacy whatsoever to enforce such a ban. “This was even more true for the Western troops,” adds Ruttig.

He is also quoted as saying that Afghan farmers “are diversifying and growing higher-quality vegetables and fruit. But this is of course difficult, especially when it comes to fruit, because trees have to be planted and then grow before they actually bear fruit.” This means that difficult years lie ahead for the landless in particular. “The second year of the cultivation ban will be difficult for them to bear.”

As one perspective, Ruttig sees that the violence that ended in the country would make marketing easier. The construction of roads, which the Taliban are currently pushing forward, also contributes to this. In the long term, this could eliminate security costs, which would also affect production and trade. At the same time, Ruttig warns: “One must not forget that Afghanistan is among the ten countries in the world most affected by the climate crisis. This means that agriculture as a whole is becoming more problematic.”