The Taliban are carefully manipulating the opium trade in Afghanistan to maintain high prices that funds their terrorist activities. They are so efficient at growing poppies and making the drug – the UN estimates they made $300 million from the opium trade last year, the third year in a row of bumper crops – that they have produced a surplus of 11,000 tons, far outstripping demand. To manipulate prices, that have dropped 20 percent, the Taliban is ordering a reduction in poppy planting and stockpiling raw opium until the price recovers. “The international community has undervalued the role of narcotics in creating the conditions for insurgency in Afghanistan,” said Antonio Maria Costa, an Italian diplomat at the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime.
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