Last Friday, Afghan Minister Maulvi Kalamud-Din reiterated an offer first made by Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar in October. Kalamud-Din promised to end poppy cultivation in Afghanistan in exchange for U.N. recognition of the Taliban as the legitimate government.
Kalamud-Din insisted that the cultivation of poppies does not violate Islamic law, and takes no responsibility for the fact that the chief product derived from poppies is heroin.
Given that the sale of poppies for heroin production is a major source of income for Afghanistan, Kalamud-Din said that “if the world community wanted to elimination cultivation of poppy,” it would have to “provide assistance” to Afghanistan. Kalamud-Din did not elaborate as to what that assistance would include.