Pot twist: Australian company wrongly named by Taliban over Afghanistan cannabis deal

A NSW medical company has been forced to clarify it has nothing to do with the Taliban after being wrongly named by Afghanistan's new rulers as part of a cannabis processing deal.

File picture of an Afghan farmer tending a to marijuana plants in Balkh province.

An Afghan farmer tending to marijuana plants in Balkh province. Source: AP

A small Australian medical services consultancy has found itself embroiled in a mix-up after being wrongly identified in a business deal with the Taliban to set up a cannabis processing plant in Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Qari Saeed Khosty made global headlines on Wednesday after announcing on social media the new rulers of the war-torn country had secured a deal with a company called “Cpharm” to set up a hashish processing plant in Afghanistan.

He said officials from the Afghan Ministry of Interior’s Counter-Narcotics Department met with a representative of the company over the deal.

“The company wants to build a cannabis processing plant in Afghanistan, which will create all cannabis products,” Khosty said in a tweet.

“The company is set to invest $430 million in this sector. This project will officially start in the coming days.”

Cpharm, a small company based in Maitland, NSW, has since been inundated with requests for comment and on Thursday was forced to clarify it had nothing to do with the Taliban, or the apparent deal.

“Nobody from here has met with anybody. It has nothing to do with us,” Cpharm director Josie Gabites told SBS News.

“We have nothing to do with the Taliban or with cannabis. And we have no idea where this has come from.

“There is no connection between us and the Taliban or cannabis.”

The company said it was not a manufacturer or supplier of any products, but provided medical advice to the pharmaceutical industry in Australia.

“We have no cannabis. We have no product, we don't produce anything,” Ms Gabites said.

“We provide advice to pharmaceutical companies. We have no products, we don't manufacture, we don't distribute.”

Australia has a Taliban sanctions regime that imposes restrictions on providing assets to "designated persons or entities".

SBS News has contacted Mr Khosty for clarification.


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Published 25 November 2021 at 3:27pm
By Rashida Yosufzai
Source: SBS News

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