Countries Of The World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2006 by Karen Ellicott

By Karen Ellicott

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Efforts also included helping Afghans living inside Afghanistan. This crossborder humanitarian assistance program aimed at increasing Afghan self-sufficiency and helping Afghans resist Soviet attempts to drive civilians out of the rebel-dominated countryside. S. provided about $3 billion in military and economic assistance to Afghans and the resistance movement. S. Embassy in Kabul was closed in January 1989 for security reasons, but officially reopened as an E m b a s s y o n Ja n u a r y 1 7 , 2 0 0 2 .

Trade in goods smuggled into Pakistan once constituted a major source of revenue for Afghan regimes, including the Taliban, and still figures as an important element in the Afghan economy. Many of the goods smuggled into Pakistan originally entered Afghanistan from Pakistan, where they fell under the Afghan Trade and Transit Agreement (ATTA), which permitted go ods bound for Afghanistan to transit Pakistan free of duty. When Pakistan 32 clamped down in 2000 on the types of goods permitted duty-free transit, routing of goods through Iran from the Gulf increased significantly.

The Taliban earned roughly $40 million per year on opium taxes alone. Opium is easy to cultivate and transport and offers a quick source of income for impoverished Afghans. Afghanistan was the world’s largest producer of raw opium in 1999 and 2000. Much of Afghanistan’s opium production is refined into heroin and is either consumed by a growing regional addict population or exported, primarily to Western Europe. Despite efforts to bring opium cultivation under control, the most recent 2003 crop is reportedly the largest recorded.

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