Ariana News: US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said on Wednesday that reports about the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) cracking down on poppy cultivation are “credible and important”.
West said in a tweet that “reports that the Taliban (IEA) have implemented policies to significantly decrease opium poppy production this year are credible and important.
“Every country in the region and beyond has a shared interest in an Afghanistan free of drugs,” he said.
His comments come after the BBC reported on Tuesday that an investigation by the media outlet found a marked decrease in poppy cultivation across Afghanistan this year.
The BBC reported that it traveled in Afghanistan – and used satellite analysis – to examine the effects of a decree issued in April 2022 by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada that the cultivation of poppies, from which opium, the key ingredient for the drug heroin can be extracted, was strictly prohibited.
The news outlet stated that IEA leaders appear to have been more successful cracking down on cultivation than anyone ever has.
“We found a huge fall in poppy growth in major opium-growing provinces, with one expert saying annual cultivation could be 80% down on last year. Less-profitable wheat crops have supplanted poppies in fields – and many farmers say they are suffering financially,” the report stated.
Provinces visited by the BBC included Nangarhar, Kandahar and Helmand. Studies of satellite images were also done.
Alcis’s analysis shows that poppy cultivation in Helmand has reduced by more than 99%. “The high resolution imagery of Helmand province shows that poppy cultivation is down to less than 1,000 hectares when it was 129,000 hectares the previous year,” said David Mansfield.