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As the campaign led by the Taliban movement continues to eradicate the cultivation of the poppy plant, from which opium is extracted, many farmers are resorting to a new trick to smuggle their crop to Iran, according to a report published by the newspaper “Telegraph” British.

According to farmers who spoke to the newspaper, they use slingshots, especially under the cover of darkness, to throw their crops from the western province of Nimruz across the border into the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan.

Jabbar, a frequent visitor to the border due to drug smuggling, explained to the London newspaper that “the moonlit nights are useful…they make it easier for us to see and locate other people on the other side of the border.”

The 31-year-old added: “The Taliban have intensified drug-related arrests, which is why we now conduct our operations under the cover of darkness and use a different location every night to avoid any confrontations with them.”

He pointed out that each slingshot throw ensures that about half a kilogram reaches a distance of 300 to 400 meters inside Iran.

He added: “Although these nights we focus primarily on opium, I have a contact specifically requesting heroin to deliver it to Turkey” via Iran.

Afghanistan was the world’s largest poppy producer until the Taliban imposed a ban on its cultivation in early 2022.

Until recently, poppy cultivation in that poor Asian country represented 85 percent of global opium production, according to United Nations estimates.

Earlier this month, unrest broke out when Taliban anti-narcotics forces began destroying poppy fields in Badakhshan province, according to the London newspaper.

Videos circulating on social media showed residents chanting slogans against the Taliban’s supreme leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, who ordered a ban on poppy cultivation.

Prices have risen significantly since the Taliban took control of the country in August 2021, jumping from about $38 US dollars per kilogram to between $1,000 and $1,255.

The sharp increase has prompted many farmers across the country to grow poppies “secretly”, either inside their own gardens or in remote villages, according to the newspaper report.

On the other hand, Taliban officials who spoke to the London newspaper anonymously said that an important aspect of the campaign to destroy poppy crops was aimed at deliberately inflating prices, for the benefit of senior officials who own secret farms or store opium, in order to “continue to enrich themselves.” “.

A local Taliban official in the western city of Herat claimed, “The entire operation is aimed at raising prices,” adding: “Just two years ago, my commander only owned a broken motorcycle, but now he owns two Land Cruisers and a luxurious house.”

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