The drug cartels in Afghanistan are serving the symbiotic relationship with the Taliban by giving farmers the advances to plant the ephedra and opium while the other giving financial assistance to keep the "jihadist proto-state alive," Khaama Press reported.
Drug trafficking in Afghanistan had become one of the important sources of earning money.
The drug cartel uses Pakistani sources to facilitate the acquisition of chemicals required to produce drugs. Moreover, the diverse nationalities are used as hostages until their cartels can afford to pay for the delivery of the drugs, and in return, the terrorist groups offer security services in exchange for payment, said Hamid Pakteen, reported by Afghan Diaspora Network.
Earlier, in 1979, when the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate of Pakistan supported jihadist groups to generate funds from drug trafficking, at that time the rise of heroin production is seen.
"General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq's regime fostered an ecosystem of government protection for heroin dealers, officials profiting from the trade, and significant political influence of heroin syndicates within the government. The subsequent institutionalization of these cartels occurred during the first Taliban emirate, with cartels enforcing their control and resorting to extreme measures such as threatening farmers who refused to cultivate poppies. Trafficking routes extended to Europe, passing through Iran, eastern Turkey, and Central Asia to Russia," Khamma Press article read.
The drug trade from Afghanistan to Pakistan remains unchecked, mainly due to weak investigation procedures and lenient court rulings that allow drug smugglers to evade significant punishment. Afghanistan had become a significant supplier of crystal meth since 2017 when drug traffickers realized that the native ephedra herb could produce ephedrine, a key ingredient in meth production.
Although the Taliban announced a ban on poppy cultivation, use, and trafficking during its second administration, the situation is not the same in practice. The cultivation of poppies is in full swing because there is no other source of income. Because the illegal opium trade continues to be a significant source of income for the cash-strapped Taliban administration, it has been reluctant to enforce its embargo.
Between USD 1.8 billion and USD 2.7 billion, or 12 to 14 per cent, of Afghanistan's GDP was attributed to the production of opium in 2021, reported Khaama Press.
Opium output in Afghanistan has increased by 34 per cent despite the cultivation ban; it can be seen, Pakeen claimed. (ANI)