30 May The Sun Cannot be Hidden by Two fingers: Illicit Drugs and the Discussions on a Political Settlement in Afghanistan
Posted at 15:00h in UncategorizedBack
|Theme||Natural Resource Management|
|Date of Publication||May 30, 2019|
An issue largely ignored in the current debates on peace and reconciliation is that of illegal drugs production. Drawing on the authors long term research in Afghanistan the paper analyses the role that illicit drugs and the monies they generate play in the conflict. It should not be forgotten that illicit drugs production and trade is currently the largest single economic sector in Afghanistan. Opium poppy is the country’s most valuable cash crop worth US$863 million4 and employs more people than any other industry in Afghanistan, over 500,000 Full Time Equivalent. The crop occupied an estimated 263,000 hectares of land in 2018; three times more land than it did in 2000 when the Taliban imposed an outright ban. Conservative estimates suggest that opiates alone made up more than 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2018 and that over US$ 40 million in taxes were earned by different armed groups along the value-chain. Given the economic and political importance of the illicit drugs economy in Afghanistan it is unwise to assume the problem away or look to resolve it with wishful and simplistic policy responses - or as the Afghan proverb says the sun cannot be hidden by two fingers.