Were/are the Taliban pro or anti-poppy? Why?
November 28, 2013 6:15 PM   Subscribe

Sounds simple, but we were wondering because in 2000 for religious reasons they cut opium production and we're curious where they stand.
posted by glaucon to Society & Culture (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Both, at different times, in different places, for different reasons. "The Taliban" has always been more of an umbrella term for various regional groups. Right now, the areas with the strongest insurgent presence tolerate it. Why? Money.
posted by holgate at 6:29 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The wikipedia entry for Opium production in Afghanistan offers this:

In July 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, collaborating with the United Nations to eradicate heroin production in Afghanistan, declared that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world's most successful anti-drug campaigns. The Taliban enforced a ban on poppy farming via threats, forced eradication, and public punishment of transgressors. The result was a 99% reduction in the area of opium poppy farming in Taliban-controlled areas, roughly three quarters of the world's supply of heroin at the time.[14] The ban was effective only briefly due to the deposition of the Taliban in 2002.

However, some people believe that certain parties benefited from the price increase during the ban. Some even believe it was a form of Market manipulation on the part of certain drug lords. Dried opium, unlike most agricultural products, can easily be stored for long periods without refrigeration or other expensive equipment. With huge stashes of opium stored in secret hideaways. Taliban, and other groups became involved in the drug trade were in theory able to make huge personal profits during the price spikes after the 2000 ban and the chaos following 9/11.[15][16]

Since 2008 the Taliban insurgency has been supporting farmers growing poppy as a source of income for insurgent operations.

More details at the link.
posted by bluecore at 7:11 PM on November 28, 2013

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