Taliban denies being responsible for 80 per cent of global opiate production

The Taliban has rejected the recent UN report on opium production in the country as “far from reality”.

The report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said that Afghanistan was responsible for producing an estimated 80 per cent of the global opiate production in 2022, despite the Taliban’s claim of a ban on poppy cultivation.

The Taliban’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday that the group rejected the report’s “assertion of increase in methamphetamine production in & smuggling from Afghanistan to world markets as false & far from the truth.”

“The opium cultivation in the country has been reduced to zero,” the group said.

However, the UN report states that the Taliban’s ban on poppy cultivation “may” result in a reduction in opium production in 2023 “at the expense of many farmers in the country who do not have alternative means of income generation.”

Afghanistan, the report adds, is a “major producer of methamphetamines in the region” and any reduction in poppy cultivation “could drive a shift towards synthetic drug manufacture”.