The main goal may be to persuade farmers from planting the crop for next year.
If the ban is genuine, experience from 2000 shows that an interruption in supply may not hit drug addicts further down the supply chain immediately, as drug networks may have significant stashes of opium and heroin hidden away.
A recent report by the Afghanistan Analysts Network said: “Afghanistan has already lost most of its other foreign income in the form of on and off-budget support, both civilian and military, since the Taliban captured power.
“Banning the cultivation of opium and export of opiates would be another grievous blow to the economy.”
Growers told the Telegraph no other crop was as reliable on the province’s poor, dry soil, particularly in the northern districts where solar-powered irrigation pumps have in recent years allowed huge production.
Alternatives like wheat, cotton, beans, vegetables and fruit do not bring the same steady returns, farmers often complain, particularly if there is drought like this year.
Mr Mohammad said: “Farmers and landowners have not reacted yet, but in the future there is a risk the Islamic Emirate will face problems due to unemployment and economic hardship. The situation is not good.”
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