The Taliban Will Have Trouble Reining in Afghanistan’s Opium Economy

An Afghan man walks through a poppy field in the Surkhroad district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 14, 2017 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).
An Afghan man walks through a poppy field in the Surkhroad district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 14, 2017 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).

In the aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, a great deal of attention has been given to the causes and consequences of the failed intra-Afghan peace process, the factors leading to the collapse of the Afghan military and the role played by pervasive corruption at the highest levels of the country’s internationally backed government. Far less discussion has focused on the ways that economic factors, especially the illicit opium economy, strengthened the Taliban in their years as an insurgency, and how they will limit the Taliban’s options now that they are in power.  Shortly after the fall of Kabul, […]

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