THE Taliban have reportedly won their first deal as a legal drugs seller since seizing control of Afghanistan by selling medicinal cannabis crops to Australians.
The militant group, which taxed drug traffickers to fund its successful bid to regain power, has signed a deal with a company to invest in a pot processing centre in Afghanistan.
The Times reports the project will give Sydney-based pharmaceutical company Cpharm, which produces medicinal cannabis cream, access to huge Afghan cannabis crops.
Cannabis is illegal in Afghanistan but authorities typically turn a blind eye and take a cut of the profits.
Afghanistan’s deputy narcotics minister met a representative of the Australian company on Tuesday that has pledged £330 million, according to the Pajhwok Afghan news agency.
After regaining power in August, the Taliban vowed to ban drug production.
But for Helmand and Kandahar farmers of cannabis and poppy fields, nothing has reportedly changed, with traders also openly operating.
Afghanistan is the world’s largest opium producer, a major cannabis producer and increasingly methamphetamine production.
Afghanistan’s provinces are peppered with iron, copper, gold, coal and other deposits once said to be worth around £2trillion, according to nation’s Ministry of Mines.
And in 2010, an oilfield with an estimated 1.8billion barrels was discovered which is estimated to be worth around £100billion.
The war-ravaged country is also believed to have one the world’s largest deposits of lithium – an essential but scarce component needed for batteries in the global boom in electric cars.
But most of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth has remained in the ground after decades of bloodshed, meaning the Taliban leaders could now tap into a whopping fortune.
With the country now under their control, the Taliban could tap into this extraordinary wealth by selling lucrative contracts to other countries such as China.
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