Afghanistan Opium Trade Booms Since Taliban Takeover

Afghanistan Opium Trade Booms Since Taliban Takeover

Andrew H. Sweet

In the last harvest season, which ended in July, an estimated 6,800 tons of opium were produced in Afghanistan. This was an 8% increase over 2020, according to a recent report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The UNODC has calculated that the opium business will have generated between $1.8 billion and $2.7 billion (€1.6 billion and €2.4 billion) in Afghanistan in 2021, about one-tenth of Afghanistan's economic output.

The agency said the Taliban takeover in August 2021 and the resulting protracted economic uncertainty drove opium prices in August and September to new highs. "This strengthens the incentive for opium cultivation," the report said.

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