- LONDON (Reuters) - The Taliban's
attack on Afghan heroin production was the "most effective" drug
control policy of modern times but production soared again after the regime
was ousted, researchers said Monday.
- A study showed that a Taliban crackdown in 2001 led to
global heroin production falling by two-thirds, said criminologist Professor
Graham Farrow of Loughborough University, with production in Taliban-controlled
areas falling 99 percent.
- "The threat of punishment was the main thing,"
said Farrow, who analyzed UN figures to produce his research. "There
were rumors that the suppression was brutal, although we found it difficult
to get first hand evidence."
- After the Taliban were ousted by U.S. forces in late
2001 in response to their cooperation with the Al Qaeda September 11 attackers,
farmers returned to growing opium poppies because they were a more lucrative
crop, Farrow told Reuters.
- Afghanistan once again became the world's largest exporter
of heroin, manufactured from the poppies, he said.
- In November, U.S. figures showed that opium poppy cultivation
in Afghanistan in 2003 was 36 times higher than in the year before the
- "This is speculation, but it may be because a crackdown
would be too unpopular for the new Afghan government," Farrow said.
- The Taliban crackdown was enforced by community leaders,
who were themselves punished if drug crops were grown in their area, Farrow
- It was difficult to draw many lessons from the example,
he said, because such measures were not acceptable to western countries.
- "In free democratic society, harsh corporal punishment
for relatively minor drug crimes is not something we want to recommend,"
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