The Taliban claim they have struck their first deal to legally grow and manufacture cannabis products for Australia and have entered into a US$400+ million ($625+ million) agreement with an Australian medical consulting firm Cpharm.
Twitter posts from the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs claimed that Cpharm has agreed to invest more than US$400 million ($625) to set up a hashish processing plant in Afghanistan.
"This project, which is expected to be functional soon will give Cpharm access to thousands of acres of Afghan cannabis crops and also give hundreds of people job opportunities,” the ministry said in a tweet.
Australian company Cpharm however, has clearly denied these claims.
"Cpharm is a family business with a 17- member staff from the regional centre of Maitland and has never spoken to the Taliban and has no dealings overseas or involving cannabis" the company told Reuters.
A press release by the company said, “We have become aware overnight of numerous media articles stating that Cpharm in Australia has been involved in a deal with the Taliban to be involved in the supply of cannabis in a cream."
Cpharm further clarified, “We DO NOT manufacturer or supply anything. We provide a medical advice service to the pharmaceutical industry within Australia. We have no products on the ARTG (Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods). We have no connection with cannabis or the Taliban. We have no idea where the Taliban media release has come from and want to assure everyone that it should not be connected to Cpharm Pty Ltd Australia.”
Qari Saeed Khosty, a spokesperson for the Taliban, had released details in a Twitter thread about the supposed deal.
The translation of his tweet reads, “Yesterday, officials from the Ministry of Interior’s Counter-Narcotics Department met with a representative of the company (Cpharm). The company wants to build a cannabis processing plant in Afghanistan, which will create all cannabis products."
He further goes on to say, "In Afghanistan, only this company will be legally contracted. By establishing this factory, Cpharm Company will use cannabis produced in Afghanistan to make spices and a kind of cream.”
The Associated Press has previously reported that soon after the Taliban came into power in Afghanistan, they went on a rampage conducting raids on drug consumers and threatened them with harsh violence if they did not agree to enter into treatment.
In 2001, the Taliban banned the production of opium before the US military invasion.
ow it appears as though they see economic opportunities again—but through a more professional, regulated market, as reported by Al Arabiya.
Update as on Nov 26, 2021: Following the misunderstanding, a Taliban spokesman has since told SBS the US$450 million ($631) cannabis deal is with a German company, not the Australian company they named in an official tweet.
A Taliban spokesman has since told SBS the $450m cannabis deal is with a German company, not the Australian company they named in an official tweet. The small Aussie firm was left bewildered and exasperated when it was named in multiple media outletshttps://t.co/DGTUysSflq
— Rashida Yosufzai (@Rashidajourno) November 25, 2021