The Taliban’s Opium Ban Has Become an Existential Problem for the West

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Afghanistan's Drug Trade


There is a chance the ban was always going to be a temporary measure, a move by the Taliban to gain favour with, and potentially get aid money moving from with the West, raise opium prices and then rescind the ban claiming the West did not offer enough help. Antonio Giustozzi, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a defence and security think tank, said the Taliban may have even been in contact with heroin traffickers to collude in a ban. “There is a possibility the Taliban gathered the big producers, the big heroin gangs, around the table and warned them in advance of the ban so they can buy and stockpile more heroin, guaranteeing them the ban would end in two or three years, so basically negotiating some kind of deal with them.”