The Taliban claimed they have signed a deal with Australian company Cpharm that wants to set up a cannabis processing center in Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesperson said on Twitter.
Taliban Press Director Qari Saeed Khosty said a contract had been signed and the project “will be up and running within days.”
However, the Australian company later made a statement to Reuters strongly denying any deals made with the Taliban.
Afghanistan’s deputy narcotics minister reportedly met with a representative of the company on Tuesday, who pledged a $450 million investment for the project, according to the Pajhwok news agency.
Cpharm did not respond to Al Arabiya English’s request for comment, but later publicy denied the claims.
Khosty said that the company, which produces medicinal cannabis cream, would be given access to thousands of acres of Afghan cannabis crops.
After taking control of Afghanistan in August, the Taliban vowed to crack down on cannabis production in the country.
Yussef Wafa, a 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.
Farmers reported seeing no real change in the group’s attitudes towards them, however.
Cannabis and opium crops were known to be significant sources of revenue for the hardline group when it operated as an insurgency under the US-led occupation of Afghanistan.