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Afghan Farmers' Income from Opium Tripled Despite Ban: A Stark Warning from Iran's Drug Control Headquarters

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Saboor Bayat
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Afghan Farmers' Income from Opium Tripled Despite Ban: A Stark Warning from Iran's Drug Control Headquarters

Amir Abbas Lotfi, the spokesperson for Iran's Drug Control Headquarters, unveiled a shocking revelation on Tuesday, December 7, stating that Afghan farmers' income from opium poppy cultivation has tripled, exceeding 4 billion dollars. This alarming rise is partly due to a 32% surge in cultivation and escalating drug prices.

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(Also Read: Unveiling the Afghan Investment Landscape: A Tale of Hope Amidst Crisis)

Opium Cultivation Continues Despite Taliban Decree

Despite the Taliban leader's decree prohibiting opium planting and production, it continues unabated in Afghanistan, covering an extensive area of 266,000 hectares. Such a revelation contradicts the recent report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that stated a staggering 95% reduction in Afghanistan's opium production.

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Afghanistan: A Rising Hub for Psychotropic Drugs

Lotfi severely criticized the existing solutions for alternative cultivation, terming them as unsustainable. He issued a stern warning stating that Afghanistan is not merely producing traditional substances but is rapidly transforming into a hub for the production of psychotropic drugs. This situation is further aggravated by the fact that the cash-strapped Taliban government is unwilling to enforce its opium ban, primarily because the illicit opium trade remains a significant source of revenue.

(Also Read: Afghanistan Seeks Investments Amid Economic and Humanitarian Crises)

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Need for Sustainable Solutions

The Taliban's failure to provide alternative livelihoods for the vast number of farmers dependent on the drug trade for survival only amplifies the problem. As a result, provinces like Helmand, Kandahar, and Uruzgan continue to witness unrestricted crop cultivation. This situation calls for immediate and sustainable interventions to curb the growing menace of drug trade and production.

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