‘Taliban earning $200-$300 mn annually from Opium trade’

Linking prevailing security scenario with illicit opium cultivation in Afghanistan,UN said the Taliban are earning $200 to $300 million annually from a surcharge it levies on illegal trade in that country.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published: February 19, 2009 3:17 pm

Linking prevailing security scenario with illicit opium cultivation in Afghanistan,United Nations said the Taliban are earning 200 to 300 million dollars annually from a surcharge it levies on illegal trade in that country.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that “the Taliban have an annual revenue of between USD 200-300 million from a surcharge levied on illicit drug trade”.

This was revealed by International Narcotics Control Board in its report for the year 2008. The report was released today.

The report said security is “weak” in southern provinces of Afghanistan and an “overwhelming” majority of villages are involved in illegal opium poppy cultivation.

It,however,said the illegal opium cultivation has dropped by 19 per cent from its record level of 1.93 lakh hectares in 2007 to 1.57 lakh hectares last year. Despite this,the country accounts for 90 per cent of illegal opium in the world.

The eradication efforts in Afghanistan are being “hampered” by lack of security,poor planning and inadequate equipment and funding,the report said.

In a welcome trend,the report noted,there has been an increase in the number of provinces that have become free of opium poppy and there have been more voluntary eradication efforts by farmers.

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