The effect of the Taliban ban appears to have been unprecedented in attempts to curb the production of illicit drugs worldwide. "The ban removed about 3,000 mt of opium, which is seven times more than what Iran has seized, 50 times more than Pakistan's seizure and 30 times more than what was seized in eastern Europe over a period of one year," Frahi said.
Despite significant military setbacks in recent weeks, Afghanistan's United Front leader Ahmad Shah Massoud is confident that he can hold the present frontline against further Taliban advances, at least until winter snows by end October makes fighting more difficult.
EurasiaNet: What are the implications of the Taliban battlefield gains for stability in Central Asia? Rubin: On the one hand, if the Taliban continue to advance to the northeast, this will make the supply and infiltration routes of both the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan [IMU] and drug traders coming from the main opium-producing regions of Afghanistan somewhat easier.
The assassination attempt came just two days before the devastating terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. U.S. President George W. Bush is vowing to find and punish not only the perpetrators of those attacks but states or groups that assisted them in any way.
A high-level meeting of the Six-Plus-Two Group on Afghanistan at United Nations headquarters approved a Regional Action Plan on September 13, outlining concrete steps to stem the flow of drugs from Afghanistan.