China Welcomes Afghan Ban on Poppy Cultivation


Beijing said it appreciated the recent decision of the Islamic Emirate to decree a nationwide ban on poppy cultivation and said it is ready to “further deepen" counter-narcotics cooperation with Afghanistan as well as with regional countries. “China appreciates the measures taken by the Afghan interim government,” China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a Regular Press Conference on Thursday. He also stated criticism of the US 20-year presence in Afghanistan. “The two decades of US presence in Afghanistan is two decades of death and displacement of innocent Afghan civilians and two decades of unchecked local drug proliferation,” he said. “We stand ready to further deepen counter-narcotics cooperation with Afghanistan and other regional countries to safeguard the healthy and tranquil life of all our peoples,” Lijian added. However, despite a ban on poppy cultivation, the farmers in the southwestern provinces are still working in their farms and harvesting poppy. The farmers say poppy is the only yield that makes good income. “It is an easy product. If I take my yield now and take it to the drug traffickers, they will definitely purchase it,” said Niaz Mohammad, a farmer. “There is no other business. If this business is allowed, a lot of people will be working,” said Khan Mohmmad, a farmer. Analysts said that if the farmers are not supported, they will face economic challenges. “If the government doesn't find an alternative plan to support the farmers, the farmers will suffer economic losses,” said Ajmal Suhail, a political analyst. Earlier, the leader of the Islamic Emirate, Mawlawi Hebatullah Akhundzada, in a decree banned the cultivation of poppy and other narcotics across the country.