Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, the current leader of the Taliban, issued an order from Kandahar prohibiting the production, distribution, and trafficking of drugs after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan. However, this order has yet to be implemented, and the local Taliban leaders in the provinces have not taken any action to prevent narcotics production, trade, processing, or smuggling. Local analysts believe that the Taliban are unable to stop drug sales and purchases throughout Afghanistan. Simultaneously, Afghans who view the Taliban as the actual producers of narcotics believe that the commanders of the Taliban have been profiting from the buying and selling of drugs for a long time and are now unable to stop producing narcotics.
Reliable sources informed Hasht–e–Subh that Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada issued an order prohibiting the cultivation, sale, processing, and smuggling of drugs, and further stated that the Taliban must target drug sellers and have no involvement with wholesalers and merchants.
Residents of Nimroz Province have reported an increase in the price and market of opium, with one-kilogram costing between 8 and 10 million Iranian Toman since the Taliban have taken control. In contrast, the Taliban leader‘s proclamation has caused the price to rise drastically in the southwest marketplaces of Afghanistan. Sources have stated that the cost of a kilogram of opium has risen to more than 20 million Toman in the two years since the Taliban have been in power.
Salahuddin, a resident of Nimroz, informed Hasht–e–Subh that the local population is aware of the cost of drugs in the province and that a significant number of people depend on drug trafficking as a source of income and a way of life. Salahuddin also added that the Taliban‘s rule has caused an increase in the price of opium and strengthened the smugglers‘ market, and that the Taliban members use a price list to determine the taxes to be paid by narcotics sellers and smugglers.
According to Salahuddin, a well–informed resident of Nimroz, he informed Hasht–e–Subh that one kilogram of opium cost less than five million tomans in Nimroz during the previous Republic government. However, as the Republic government neared its collapse, the price of one kilogram rose to eight million Tomans. Salahuddin further noted that the cost was widely known due to Nimroz‘s proximity to Iran, and some of the province‘s residents were involved in smuggling goods. Prices increased further as the Taliban took control and imposed a fee on each kilogram of opium, resulting in smugglers having to pay taxes and the price rising from eight million Tomans to twenty million Tomans, with the Taliban receiving 600 Afghanis from each smuggled kilogram of opium.
The inhabitants of Nimroz asserted that, under the vigilant observation of the Taliban, thousands of kilograms of drugs are smuggled out of the province daily to neighboring countries, particularly Iran. They alleged that Toyota vehicles and catapults are utilized to transport tens of kilograms of opium across the Iranian border. The Taliban do not impede the transfer of these materials to neighboring countries if they are remunerated.
Farooq, a resident of Nimroz province, informed Hasht–e–Subh that approximately 800 to 1,000 kilograms of opium are smuggled from the Kong area to Iran on a daily basis, as Afghan and Iranian smugglers collaborate on Iranian soil.
Farooq stated that opium is prepared in kilograms and is thrown over the wall using a catapult, while some smugglers in the Chahar–Burjak district smuggle it by car.
Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada issued a ban on the cultivation, acquisition, sale, processing, and smuggling of drugs over a year ago, and ordered the destruction of drug processing facilities in Afghanistan. Recently, he issued another order, granting smugglers a period of almost ten months to conduct unrestricted purchases and sales. After this deadline expires, a final decision will be made regarding how to purchase and sell pharmaceuticals, as per the order of the Taliban leader.