Prosperity or Penury: The political and economic fallout of the opium ban in Afghanistan,

Kate Clark, Jelena Bjelica

In April 2022, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) announced a ban on the cultivation and production of opium and the use, trade and transport of all illegal narcotics (AAN reporting here). Since the ban was announced at the beginning of harvest season, the IEA allowed farmers to harvest the opium crop that was already in the ground. However, they began to enforce the ban strictly in the autumn, when farmers normally sow the seeds for the next season (see AAN reporting about the Emirate’s counter-narcotics strategy from June 2023). But just how severely the Emirate did enforce the ban is now evident in the two newly released reports.

Alcis and Mansfield found that, country-wide, the area under opium cultivation had dropped by 86 per cent, from 219,744 hectares in 2022 to 31,088 hectares in 2023.[1] The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated the reduction to be even higher, 95 per cent, from 233,000 hectares in 2022 to 10,800 hectares in 2023. Although the figures differ, the direction of travel does not.[2] UNODC also calculated that the reduction in potential opium production was 95 per cent, with about 33 tons of fresh opium produced nationwide in 2023, compared to 6,200 tons in 2022. Läs artikel