Taliban: US, Russia Punishing Taliban for Banning Poppies

Published December 8th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Draft UN sanctions against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia are punishment for the regime's crackdown on poppy cultivation and not its alleged support for terrorism, a top official said Friday. 

Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal said US and Russian top brass were part of the international drug mafia that had profited from Afghanistan's record opium crop last year. 

"Their proposed sanctions are not because of Osama bin Laden. They want to punish the Islamic Emirate for its country-wide ban on poppy cultivation," Jamal told AFP. 

"They are upset and I am sure their rage will heighten." 

Afghanistan last year emerged as the world's largest opium producer, with a record yield of 4,600 tons. 

Recently the Taliban Supreme Leader Mulla Mohammad Omar announced a total ban on poppy cultivation throughout the country, and farmers in the main drug-growing areas say the authorities seem serious. 

Washington and Moscow on Thursday submitted a plan to the UN Security Council to tighten and broaden sanctions against the militia, which is accused of harboring terrorists and fostering Islamic militancy in Central Asia. 

They include an arms embargo against the Taliban but not its civil war enemies in the north and a ban on exports to Afghanistan of the chemical used to refine opium into heroin. 

They are designed to force the Taliban to extradite indicted terrorist bin Laden and close down suspected terrorist training camps. 

"If they claim they want peace in Afghanistan, their (arms embargo) should cover both sides equally," Jamal said. 

"The United Nations wants a prolongation of the war in line with its anti-Islamic policy." 

Saudi dissident bin Laden has lived in Afghanistan as a "guest" of the Taliban since 1996, the year the Islamic militia ousted president Burhanuddin Rabbani from Kabul. 

A self-proclaimed enemy of Americans, he is accused in the United States of masterminding the twin US embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998 and is again under suspicion for plotting the October 12 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen – KABUL (AFP)  



© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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