Afghanistan: Taliban seek distance from drug trafficking association | International


Saeed Khosty, spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior of the Taliban regime, this Tuesday in his office.
Saeed Khosty, spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior of the Taliban regime, this Tuesday in his office.Angeles Espinosa

The Taliban have vowed to fight the drug business. However, the news coming from the south of the country, where the poppy and cannabis plantations are concentrated, warn that this season is being planted more than the previous one. The Interior Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khosty, assures EL PAÍS that they are fulfilling their “promise to combat drug trafficking” and puts the ball in the court of the international community. “You should work with us and help farmers,” he suggests. Meanwhile, fundamentalists are exploring a legitimate destination for these crops.

Afghanistan is known for its multi-million dollar drug industry. According to United Nations data, it is responsible for 85% of world opium production and in 2018 this crop contributed to 11% of the Afghan economy. It is also the country of origin for 18% of the cannabis resin (hashish) that is intercepted globally, behind only Morocco. The United States has always linked drug trafficking to the insurgents.

Khosty, 33 years old and who puts the honorific before his name reading (Quran reciter), created a bit of a stir in late November when he declared that an Australian company had agreed with the Taliban to finance a $ 450 million (about € 400 million) hashish processing plant for medicinal and cosmetic use. The firm in question denied it. It was, apparently, a mix-up with a German company whose name matches.

“The representative in Afghanistan of CPharm from Germany came to the ministry and told us that they wanted to cooperate, but the agreement is still under discussion,” maintains Khosty, convinced that legal production can prevent drug trafficking. “CPharm has told us that they will buy the hash directly from the market and pay more to the farmers,” he says. CPharm has not responded to the request of this newspaper to confirm or deny the negotiations in this regard.

See also  New Year's Eve: Ramón García: "I'm looking forward to January 7" | TV
-- AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2021 --

In this picture taken on September 24, 2021, men gather around bags containing heroin and hashish as they negotiate and check quality at a drug market on the outskirts of Kandahar. - While their country's economy teeters on the brink of collapse, vendors at an opium market in southern Afghanistan say prices for their goods have skyrocketed since the Taliban takeover. (Photo by Bulent KILIC / AFP) / AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2021
— AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2021 —

In this picture taken on September 24, 2021, men gather around bags containing heroin and hashish as they negotiate and check quality at a drug market on the outskirts of Kandahar. – While their country’s economy teeters on the brink of collapse, vendors at an opium market in southern Afghanistan say prices for their goods have skyrocketed since the Taliban takeover. (Photo by Bulent KILIC / AFP) / AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2021BULENT KILIC (AFP)

The Interior spokesman admits that Afghanistan has a serious addiction problem. “We have collected 3,000 addicts in the last 10 days in Kabul alone and they are in treatment,” he says. “The Islamic Emirate works to prevent drug trafficking. We captured a lot of people who smuggle drugs. We have kept our promise. But we ask the international community to provide alternative crops for our farmers. Poverty leads them to cultivate drugs ”, he adds.

Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.

Subscribe

Efforts by the United States and the Afghan government to curb drug trafficking did not yield great results either, despite spending $ 8 billion over nearly two decades to destroy crops and laboratories. Mullah Omar, founder and first leader of the Taliban, also banned opium cultivation in 2000, but the trade continued.

Getting to Khosty is not easy. The Home Office is a bunker. You have to go through seven searches before entering the building, protected by the same concrete walls with which the Government, which was demolished last August, guarded itself from the attacks of the Taliban. Now leading it is Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the Haqqani network, a relatively autonomous group within the militia, but denied by fundamentalists, and the man for whom the United States is offering a $ 10 million reward.

Before the taking of Kabul, Khosty, one of the main propagandists for the militia, led a dedicated group of volunteers promoting the Taliban ideology through social media. He continues to pay close attention to the media, especially in English, to reach the international community. Before the interview, his assistant asks if we are going to record (the ministry has a television studio) and he is interested in the type of publication he is going to talk to. It also specifies that it does not answer questions about the Islamic State because it is not the responsibility of the Interior, but of the General Directorate of Intelligence, the secret services.

Khosty denies extrajudicial killings

Regarding the accusations of extrajudicial executions and disappearances of former members of the armed forces documented by Human Rights Watch, the Taliban Interior spokesperson, Saeed Khosty, asks that “if [la organización] have some proof, share it ”. He admits isolated cases of personal reckoning, but defends that “the Islamic Emirate has not killed anyone.”

He also rejects the possibility that some Taliban groups act independently of the center. “Everyone follows the edicts of the emir ul mominin [príncipe de los creyentes]”He says in reference to the supreme leader of the Taliban, Haibatullah Akhundzada.

And why hasn’t he been seen in public? “The emir ul mominin meets with ministers and other leaders, but there is a security problem. When it is resolved, it will be presented to the people, ”concludes Khosty.

Follow all the international information at Facebook Y Twitter, o en our weekly newsletter.




elpais.com

Related Posts

George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.