RFI Senior Fellow Charles Ramsey Interviewed on Taliban Control in Afghanistan

April 7, 2022

Charles Ramsey, RFI Senior Fellow and Resident Scholar at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, was interviewed on EWTN News Nightly to discuss the ban on harvesting poppy plants implemented by the Taliban in Afghanistan. 

In the course of the interview, Ramsey discussed the Taliban’s quest for power and international legitimacy through the ban. By preventing the production of opium, Taliban leaders aim to exert control over the population and show their strength. According to Ramsey:

Access to that kind of money can destabilize a region and can remove loyalty, so it’s a moral stand. They’re saying we can stop drug production, which the United States and its forces never could succeed in doing, so look at us, we’re a moral force, and we are going to exert power here…but it’s also trying to stop the flow of cash. 

Ramsey also explores some threats to Taliban legitimacy in the country. For example, rebels can throw the stability of the Taliban into question by attacking mosques in Afghanistan. By showing the vulnerability of these central places of worship, they threaten the community as a whole. Bans on poppy harvesting and other measures of control like the criminalization of alcohol sales attempt to counteract these mosque attacks and other displays of instability by reinforcing the image of Taliban power in Afghanistan.