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Taliban sign $450m deal with Australian group for cannabis centre

ISLAMABAD: The Afghan government has signed a deal with an Australian company,   Cpharm, that wants to set up a cannabis processing centre in Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesperson said on Wednesday.

“All the stages of the contract with Cpharm have been completed and in a few days the project will be officially launched which will create jobs for many citizens,” Saeed Khosty, Taliban press director, posted on Twitter.

He said that a representative of the Australian company pledged $450-million investment for the project in Afghanistan. “Afghanistan’s deputy narcotics minister met Cpharm’s representative on Tuesday in this regard,” Khosty said.

He added that the company, which produces medicinal cannabis cream, would be given access to thousands of acres of Afghan cannabis crops. Quoting a spokesperson for Cpharm, Khosty posted on Twitter: “Afghanistan has 6,000 acres of land for cannabis cultivation and they (Cpharm) need 5000 acres of cannabis.”

After taking control of Afghanistan in August, the Taliban authorities had vowed to crack down on the illicit drugs trade.

Yussef Wafa, Taliban governor of Kandahar, said in October that the group had been arresting drug users and would not let farmers grow cannabis or opium poppies.

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