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Taliban now running morphine & heroin factories for funding terror
Although the Taliban had banned cultivation of poppy while they ruled Afghanistan, but they now seem to have discovered how lucrative drugs business can be, especially for funding their terror and insurgency related activities.

As per a latest AFP report, the Taliban have gained significant control over the country's heroin production line.

What is most worrying is that war-torn Afghanistan produces world's 80 per cent opium. In 2016, the country produced 48,000 tonnes of opium which brought in revenues of around three billion dollars, as per the United Nations.

Although, it is a well known fact that the Taliban have been since long taxing poppy-producing farmers to fund their insurgency-related activities, what has lately worried Western officials is Taliban's foraying into refining raw opium into morphine and heroin.

The Taliban are now running factories which produce morphine and heroin from the lucrative crop which are exported abroad.

William Brownfield, US Assistant Secretary for Drugs and Law Enforcement, while recently talking to reporters in the Afghan capital Kabul, said, "I pretty firmly believe they are processing all the harvest. Everything that they harvest is duly processed inside the country. They receive more revenues if they process it before it has left the country."

He added further, "Obviously we are dealing with very loose figures, but drug trafficking amounts to billions of dollars every year from which the Taliban is taking a substantial percentage."

Since poppies are easy and cheap to grow, they comprise of almost half of Afghanistan's agricultural production. Raw opium is obtained in paste form by slitting poppy seed pods with a knife. The farmers are paid about $163 for a kilo of the blackish paste.

After refining raw opium into heroin, the Taliban sell it for anywhere between $2,300 to $3,500 per kilo in local markets. However, after reaching European markets the same fetches $45,000, informs a Western expert who advises Afghan anti-narcotic forces, on conditions of anonymity.

The expert said that the increase in number of seizures of chemicals like acid anhydride which are required for converting raw opium into morphine, before further turning it into heroine, pointed out that there is escalation in Taliban's drug activity.

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