Taliban made $100 mn in drug profits: UN

June 24th, 2008 - 7:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Kabul, June 24 (DPA) Afghanistan’s Taliban militants made profits worth more than $100 million from illicitly grown poppy for the opium trade, the UN drugs office said Tuesday. The Taliban were charging farmers growing poppy a 10-percent “tax” on their harvest, Antonio Maria Costa, head the of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said an interview with the BBC.

According to UNODC estimates, last year’s illicit poppy harvest was worth $1 billion.

The Taliban rebels increased their earnings from the opium trade further by providing protection for drug labs and offering protection for cargo, moving opium across the borders, Costa said.

Last year the production of opium, a precursor substance to heroin, reached new top levels in Afghanistan.

In 2007, Afghanistan was responsible for 92 percent of the global opium production, the UNODC said.

Significant amounts of opium poppy are being grown in the Taliban-controlled areas.

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