Tackling Drug Trafficking From Afghanistan


    In News 

    • Recently, India-Iran discussed and examined ways and means of mutual cooperation in fighting drug trafficking which accordingly resulted in some positive outcomes.
      • Talks gain importance in view of the recent seizure of around 3,000 kg heroin at the Mundra port.

    Implications  illegal production of drugs in Afghanistan

    • The illegal production of drugs in Afghanistan has impacted Iran severely for several decades. 
    • The geographical location of Iran has turned it into a major transit country for illicit drugs. 
      • The drug haul also impacted Iran’s trade as the Adani Group declared that containers from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan will not be handled at the port from November 15.
      • In response to this challenge, the country has built one of the strongest counter-narcotics enforcement capabilities in the region over the years. 
    • The global trade in illicit Afghan opiates has become one of the world’s greatest transnational drug and crime threats, with severe consequences for health, governance and security at national, regional and international levels.
      • It is for many decades that narcotic drugs production and organised drug trafficking from Afghanistan has posed a major threat to India and to the world.

    Afghan Opiate Trade Project (AOTP) 

    • A dedicated project was established in 2008 to help monitor and achieve a better understanding of the global impact of Afghan opiates.
    • It aims to address the need for systematic, comprehensive and consolidated analytical information about trends in the global illicit Afghan opiate trade in order to support the international response to that issue. 
    • It also aims to enhance the drug research capacity of those countries most affected by Afghan opiates, and increase the awareness of the data and information needed to support research on the opiate trade.

    Current Threat as Highlighted in World Drug Report of UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

    • Opium
      • Afghanistan reported a 37% increase in the extent of land used for illicit cultivation of opium poppy during 2020 compared to the previous year.
      • The potential production of over-dry opium was 6,300 tonnes last year compared to 4,000 tonnes in 2009.
    • Heroin 
      • It is manufactured using morphine extracted from opium. 
      • The country accounted for 85% of the global total opium production last year.
    • Methamphetamine
      • The drug is prepared using ephedrine extracted from Ephedra plants in Afghanistan.
      • In neighbouring Iran, the proportion of Afghan-origin methamphetamine seizures increased from less than 10% in 2015 to over 90% in 2019. 
      • The seizures in Afghanistan also increased almost sevenfold that year compared to 2018. 
    • Regions famous for Opium Cultivation in Afghanistan
      • Afghanistan’s southwestern region (Helmand, Kandahar, Nimroz, Uruzgan, and Zabul Provinces) continued to dominate opium-poppy cultivation 
        • It accounted for 68% of the national total in 2020.
    • Pandemic Effect
      • The economic crisis brought on by the pandemic will only increase the appeal of illicit crop cultivation.

    Way Ahead

    • Following steps can go a long way in curbing the drug menace in India
      • Sharp vigil, effective surveillance, source-based intelligence, sensitisation of field officials.
      • Public awareness and cooperation.
      • Strict actions against the drug cartels including suppliers, peddlers along with consumers.
      • Psychological help and Counselling Centres are to be established in each block for helping the drug addicts.
      • Keep a Check on Customs and Immigration Points:
        • Any country can not control the happenings of foreign nations but isolate itself by filtering the incoming goods and people.
        • India can upgrade its customs and Immigration management system to closely monitor the influx of drugs.
    • Sealing the porous Land Borders:
      • Few major areas of concern are Nepal, Myanmar and the Pakistan border.
      • Such hotspots must be identified with appropriate intelligence gathering and sealed for future infiltration.

    Source: TH