According to the data released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, some 30 million people across the world may be described as habitual drug users. These means that all of these people are not just addicted to drugs but they also need professional treatment. Due to the ever increasing volume of illegal drug trafficking, a total of 100,000 people die every year. Since 2011, Europe has witnessed a 30% increase in cocaine users, while the worldwide opium production increased by 33% last year in comparison with the previous one.
The continuous smuggling of drugs enriches terrorists and strengthens extremist groups that pose a real threat to the peace and security of the international community.
As it’s been noted previously, to this day Afghanistan accounts for 75% of worldwide heroin production due to the fact that two thirds of all lands illegally allocated for opium poppy cultivation are situated in this country. The province of Nangarhar in Afghanistan has become the backbone of the black market. Local farmers are selling their poppy crops to brokers. Brokers then sell the opium to drug production groups, who run clandestine laboratories in the mountains. There, the opium is converted into morphine and heroin. Traffickers refer to the most refined heroin as “spin mal.” This high-purity, injectable heroin is sold around the world, including in the United States.
The well-established drug trafficking routes run from Afghanistan to a number of countries, while passing all sorts of transit points. Those routes allow smugglers to deliver their deadly goods to Russia and various parts of Europe through the countries of Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. As for India, it’s being supplied by heavy drugs through its neighboring countries including Pakistan. It’s rarely mentioned that both Europe and America often being supplied with deadly drugs through military airports controlled by Western military forces in Afghanistan.
According to official reports, after almost two decades of continuous deployment of several thousand US and NATO servicemen in Afghanistan, the level of production and drug trafficking has increased by one thousand per cent compared to the level of 2001, the year when Washington announced its intention to the fight the “opium-riddled Afghan.” There’s no logical explanation of this fact that American political figures can provide us with, since among the stated goals of the persistent military presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan are such objectives as the fight against terrorism and combating drug trafficking.
A short while ago, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, predicted that US servicemen will stay in Afghanistan for at least another decade. What it basically means is that the soaring level of drug production in this war-torn state will just keep growing.
Among the largest markets for Afghan heroin one can find Russia, China and other “strategic opponents of Washington.” So it should comes as no surprise that the Pentagon shows little to no interests towards the fulfillment of its stated goals in Afghanistan. American generals are convinced that Afghan drugs play an extremely important role in plummeting demographic figures of those states that are being described as potential threats for the United States, since it triggers more deaths than any local armed conflict of recent decades.
Under those circumstances, some Afghan experts are inclined to believe that NATO personnel deployed in their country is actively engaged in the production and trafficking of drugs. According to these experts, Kandahar, Helmand and Urozgan provinces have certain opium fields that are situated in the areas controlled by the British and American military units located nearby and those units in no way interfere with the cultivation and harvesting of poppy crops. Moreover, local peasants have confined to them that helicopters and airplanes wearing military camouflage are landing in their villages around the clock to be loaded with crops only to fly away in an unknown direction.
There are more grounds for such claims than one may think, especially against the backdrop that earlier British and Canadian officials have been investigating Camp Bastion and Kandahar, the two main airports through which servicemen arrive and depart on allegations of those being used in drug trafficking.
In addition, as reported by British media sources, their informers among Afghan drug smugglers say that British troops are a part of this deadly trade too.
Experts say that not only Afghan drug dealers, but also foreigners, especially American and other NATO servicemen receive unparalleled profits from the production and illegal drug trafficking in Afghanistan. If those were not involved in the drug trafficking, then heavy Afghan drugs would be nearly impossible to find on the European black market. After all, the task of transporting large shipments of drug substances is beyond the capacity of any smugglers. So it’s only logical to assume that foreign cargo planes that cross the Afghan border regularly without any inspection or supervision from the local authorities are used for routine drug trafficking.
According to the statement made by the Afghan Deputy Minister for Combating Drugs, Khalil Bakhtiyar nearly three million people are involved in the illegal drug trade in Afghanistan. In 2017 alone, the level of Afghan drug production reached 4,800 tons.
However, recently, Afghan special services have voicing their concern that in addition to the massive production of heroin their country is now being used for the production of synthetic drugs – the so-called methamphetamines or meth, even in spite of the fact that those in no way associated with opium. As for the precursors that are required for their production, they must be smuggled inside the country the same way heroine is being smuggled out of it. Afghanistan, with its highly-developed drug infrastructure, will be able to produce tons of new types of drugs, while refining the actual process of production on the fly. In the early 1990s the production of opium, and then of heroin, was developing along the same scenario. The first time local security forced seized synthetic drugs in Afghanistan in 2008, they amounted they managed to retrieve was minuscule. Then in 2012, they seized four pounds only to capture 458 traffickers last year smuggling some 500 pounds of synthetic drugs.
If we talk about the involvement of the United States in the illegal drug business in Afghanistan, we mustn’t forget that the estimated profits of Afghan drug trade must be reaching 100 billion dollars a year, which empowers Washington to calmly manage crises in Muslim countries, support terrorists and overthrow undesirable Islamic governments . In all likelihood, Washington will never agree to abandon such colossal revenues, because due to those Washing has established its lasting presence in such a dangerous region There’s little doubt that both NATO and the US are in full control of the Afghan drug trade, or in the very least use it to reap maximum profits for themselves, assuming that it’s stupid to combat anything that can be that profitable.
The huge financial costs of the US and NATO unhindered military presence in Afghanistan result in continuous loss of life. At the same time, none of the stated goals have been fulfilled. We have seen no successful steps made in the direction of the actual fight against terrorism, nor the eradication of Afghan drug trafficking, nor the establishment of peace and tranquility in this rebellious land. Washington has failed in every regard, which means that the flow of deadly drugs will keep reaping people’s lives for years and decades to come.
In such a situation, the only way to combat the unparalleled level of production and trafficking of Afghan drugs is to consolidate the efforts of the entire international community with the aim of introducing a harsh control over the activities of US and NATO servicemen in this war-torn country. There’s no other solution to this crisis.