Sunday, February 14, 2010

Afghanistan Drug production and trade; as a global risk

Afghanistan has become the source and result for the world and regional risk. Ulrich Beck[1] stated that risk is anticipation of catastrophe or of possibility of future occurrences and developments. Thus, Afghanistan has the anticipation of catastrophe and the catastrophe occurred daily. One of the issue need to be mentioned is drugs production. Drugs production and trafficking constitute one of Afghanistan’s central domestic challenges. Afghanistan is one of the largest opium producers in the world, and the illegal trade of poppy is a quite dominant in the country’s economy system. Often, the profit of the poppy goes to the Taliban and the terrorist, thus financing the insurgency.

Drug trafficking is also a regional challenge for Afghanistan.[2] The large-scale criminal activities and incomes associated with regional drug flows act to undermine the states in the region: in this way Afghanistan’s neighbors – Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in particular – are becoming weaker, more criminalized, more unstable and less able to function as constructive partners in Afghanistan’s process of stabilization.

Drugs trafficking from Afghanistan through Central Asia to Russia and Europe increased dramatically in the 1990s. The share of total production of Afghan opiates trafficked through Central Asia is estimated to be around 20 per cent.[3] Afghanistan in 2007 accounted for 93% of the global opiates market.[4] About 70 % of the production takes places in the southern regions bordering on Pakistan. Production in these areas has been increasing, whereas in central-northern Afghanistan (the regions bordering on Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan), opium cultivation has diminished since 2005. For the Central Asian states, and particularly for the weakest among them, the impact of the drug trade has been significant. In the absence of a strong legal economy, the high profit margins of drug trafficking have a serious impact on the state and society. It clearly indicate failing nation building project that will make Afghanistan a safer haven for terrorist.[5]

Drug trafficking generates risk and affects the security of states and societies in various ways;

Firstly, drug trade affects human and societal security through increasing levels of addiction, petty crime and drug-related epidemics.
Secondly, drug trade exacerbates corruption in already weak states and infiltrates governments, thereby affecting the economic and political functioning of these states. The result is an incapacitated state unable to protect and ensure the rights of its citizens, and a loss of legitimacy, which in turn leads the population to question the idea of the state, thus resulting in a higher risk of instability.

Third, the drugs trade has become a growing threat to national, regional and international security in a military sense, through its linkages to violent non-state actors, including ideological and secessionist movements, and to terrorism.

Moreover, drugs production and trafficking had become “a low risk crop in a high risk environment”, that also brings food to the table for common Afghan. Thus, multilayered efforts need to be done in a multi layered areas by multi layered actors, in order to curb the Afghanistan drugs production and trafficking.

[1] Beck, Ulrich, World at Risk, Polity Press, UK, 2009, p.11

[2] Kjaernet,Heidi, Afghanistan and regional instability: a risk assessment, NUPI Report 2008, available at accessed at 15 November 2009.

[3] Interpol – Drugs Sub-Directorate. Heroin. available at accessed at 15 November 2009.

[4] Afghanistan opium survey 2007. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, October 2007. accessed at 15 November 2009

[5] Global Risks 2008 – A global risk network report, available at [] (accessed at 14 November 2009)

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