SAI NOQTA: DRUG TRADE IN AFGHANISTAN PART 2 OF 3
Opium production in Afghanistan is controlled by local Afghan and regional mafia groups of Asia, more particularly of South and Central Asia. It has been a significant problem for Afghanistan since the downfall of the Taliban in 2001. The CIA estimates that one-third of Afghanistan's GDP comes from opium export.
The Asian Development Bank, however, indicates a lower figure: $2.5 billion, or about 12% of the GDP. At any rate, this is not only one of Kabul's most serious policy and law-enforcement challenges, but also one of the world's most serious problems, especially for North America and Europe because that's where most of the drugs end up.
While the Pentagon insists that the military operations in Afghanistan should be limited to fighting terrorists, while the State Department thinks armed forces should tackle opium production. The US report also praised Pakistan for "excellent" co-operation with US anti-drugs efforts.
Last week the head of Pakistan's Anti-Narcotics Force, Major General Zafar Abbas, said that heroin production in Afghanistan this year is expected to reach more than 4,000 tonnes. Russian guards patrolling Afghanistan's 1,340-kilometre border with Tajikistan, the main transport route for Afghan drugs to European markets, have seized 1.5 tonnes of heroin already this year.
Last year, Russian and Tajik border guards seized 6.7 tonnes of drugs.