Taliban supreme leader bans poppy cultivation in Afghanistan

The Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada on Sunday banned in a decree the cultivation of opium poppy and trade of opium in Afghanistan, the Taliban-led caretaker government confirmed.

A general view of poppy tears pictured at a poppy plantation in a field in Zhari district in Kandahar on March 28, 2022.

"As per the decree of the supreme leader of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), all Afghans are informed that from now on, cultivation of poppy has been strictly prohibited across the country," the caretaker government said in a statement.

The statement added that if anyone violates the decree, the crop will be destroyed immediately and the violator will be punished.

"In addition, use, transport, trade, export and import of all types of narcotics such as alcohol, heroin, K tablet (a drug with stimulant effects often sold in Afghanistan), hashish and etc., including drug manufacturing factories in Afghanistan are strictly banned," the statement said.

"Enforcement of this decree is mandatory. The violator will be prosecuted and punished by the judiciary," according to the statement.

Much of the world's opium poppy is cultivated in the militancy-hit Asian country. In 2020, some 6,300 tons of opium were produced in the country, according to official data.