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Amid the war and instability in Afghanistan over the last two decades, the opium industry has seen explosive growth. In fact, Afghanistan accounts for the vast majority of the world's opium supply. The Taliban vowed to crack down on the production of illicit drugs, and in March, they issued a total ban on opium cultivation, which has stripped many rural Afghans of their livelihoods. But in the meantime, drug prices have been increasing, making the production and trafficking of methamphetamines even more profitable.
To discuss the situation, former Lawfare associate editor Tia Sewell sat down with Rupert Stone, an independent journalist who recently published a piece with the Atlantic Council entitled, “Afghanistan’s Drug Trade is Booming Under Taliban Rule.” They discussed how Afghanistan's drug trade has evolved under the Taliban, the growing problems of addiction, and how the Taliban's rule has affected the export and trafficking of illicit drugs in the broader region.