|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Plowing the Poppy in AfghanistanAired April 14, 2000 - 2:37 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Afghanistan is the world's biggest poppy producer. The colorful flower provides opium, the raw drug for heroin. Now, under pressure from the international community, the ruling Taleban are taking the bloom off the poppy, and in the process, angering many Afghan farmers.
Here is CNN's Nic Robertson.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Breaking new ground by destroying opium poppies, Taleban tractors begin eradicating a harvest that has brought them international condemnation. United Nations narcotics officials call it a breakthrough.
BERNARD FRAHI, U.N. DRUG CONTROL PROGRAM: It is significant because of the political decision that the Taleban took at the end of last year to eliminate the opium poppy, and today we see some positive results.
ROBERTSON: These fields, visible from the main highway, are those being targeted for this crackdown. But even if poppies are completely eradicated in this region, the destruction represents less than one percent of the total harvest, a harvest that last year made Afghanistan the number-one world's poppy producer.
FRAHI: We were told that there would be one-third elimination this year in Afghanistan. We can witness only a certain portion of the territory. We will know later on, you know, whether the elimination will have taken place in all of Afghanistan.
ROBERTSON: The Taleban say this crackdown proves its commitment to tackling the drug problem.
MULLAH HAMEED AKHUNZADA, TALEBAN NARCOTICS MINISTER (through translator): We assure the world community we will fight against narcotics. Now it is up to the international world to look into the problems of the poverty-stricken Afghan.
ROBERTSON: During their five years in power, the Taleban have allowed poppy growth to escalate. They blame it on their war-ravaged economy that they have done little to rebuild.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Destruction of our crop will not solve the problem. The country needs industries so that farmers could find other employment.
ROBERTSON: U.N. officials believe the Taleban crackdown may make it easier for the Taleban to get international help tackling the drug problem. A lot is riding on this year's U.N. poppy report.
Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.