Taliban bans opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban on Sunday announced a ban on harvesting poppies, even as farmers in some parts of the country began extracting the opium from the plant that is needed for making heroin.

The Taliban warned farmers that their crops will be burned and that they can be jailed if they proceed with the harvest. The harvest and planting seasons vary across Afghanistan. In the Taliban heartland of southern Kandahar the harvesting has begun but in the east of the country some farmers are just beginning to plant their crop.

The decree was announced by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid at a news conference in the capital of Kabul. The order also outlawed the manufacturing of narcotics and the transportation, trade, export and import of heroin, hashish and alcohol.

Afghanistan produces more opium than all opium-producing countries combined and last year was the sixth straight year of record opium harvests.

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