Taliban, Australian pharma sign $450mn deal for cannabis centre
An Australian pharmaceutical company, Cpharm, has signed a deal with the Taliban for USD 450 million -- for setting up a cannabis processing centre in Afghanistan, reports Al Arabiya citing a tweet by a Taliban spokesperson.
A contract has been signed and the project is expected to be operational within days, said Taliban Press Director Qari Saeed Khosty.
A representative of the company met with Afghanistan's deputy narcotics minister on Tuesday in this regard, who pledged a $450 million investment for the project, according to the Pajhwok Afghan News agency.
Cpharm did not immediately respond to Al Arabiya's request for comment.
Saeed Khosty said that the company, which produces medicinal cannabis cream, would be given access to thousands of acres of Afghan cannabis cropland, reports Al Arabiya.
The Taliban, however, after taking control of Afghanistan in August, had vowed to crack down against cannabis production in the country.
Last month, Yussef Wafa, a Taliban governor of Kandahar, said that they had been arresting drug users and would not let farmers grow cannabis or opium poppies.
However, the farmers reported seeing no real change in the group's attitude towards them, said the Al Arabiya report.
Cannabis and opium crops were known to be significant sources of revenue for the right-wing extremists when it operated as an insurgency group under the US-led occupation of Afghanistan.