What now for the Taleban and Narcotics? A case study on cannabis, afghanistan-analysts.org

Kate Clark and Jelena Bjelica

It has been more than a year since the Taleban banned the cultivation of cannabis and the production and trafficking of cannabis resin, known as hashish, in areas of Afghanistan under their control. The Taleban put a great deal of effort into formulating the ban, consulting Islamic scholars and various of their commissions before issuing a decree from the Taleban Supreme Leader in March 2020.

This report looks at whether and how the ban was implemented using field research conducted by AAN’s Fazal Muzhary in five districts of Ghazni and Paktika, and sample interviews with farmers and others elsewhere. The research, which took place before the Taleban captured power nationally in August 2021, provides a useful context for considering future Taleban policy on narcotics. Narcotics are important, not just because of their significance to the Afghan economy and many people’s livelihoods, but also their contentiousness – both for potential donors and an avowedly Islamic administration. […]

Given the colossal economic shocks – the cut-off of aid, end to the dollar supply and freezing of state assets (see this AAN report) that have assailed Afghanistan since the Taleban takeover, it would be economic and political suicide for the new regime to ban one of the country’s few successful exports. No more has been heard about banning narcotics and Taleban spokesman Mujahed did not respond to AAN’s request for an interview about narcotics. [12] That having been said, the Taleban have begun their rule with a decree, supported by a fatwa, prohibiting cannabis and hashish already in place. Whether they will want to expend the political capital needed to maintain their ban in the southeast of Afghanistan, let alone extend it to more provinces, or, as seems more likely, quietly forget they ever enacted the ban in the first place is a topic to be followed. Läs rapporten