Drug Peddler’s Jihad

published on February 19, 2009



Taliban earns $300m a year from illegal drugs: UN

PNS | New Delhi

Linking
the prevailing security scenario with illicit opium cultivation in
Afghanistan, the United Nations on Thursday said the Taliban were
earning almost $300 million annually from a surcharge it levied on
illegal trade in that country.

The United Nations Office on
Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that “the Taliban have an annual
revenue of between $ 200-300 million from a surcharge levied on illicit
drug trade”. The revelation came in the annual report for 2008,
released by the International Narcotics Control Board on Thursday.

The
report stated that security was “weak” in southern provinces of
Afghanistan and an “overwhelming” majority of villages were involved in
illegal opium poppy cultivation.

It, however, said the illegal
opium cultivation had dropped by 19 per cent from its record level of
1.93 lakh hectare in 2007 to 1.57 lakh hectare last year. Despite this,
the country accounts for 90 per cent of illegal opium in the world.
However, due to higher crop yield, actual opium production dropped by
only 6 per cent; from 8,200 tonne in 2007 to 7,700 tonne in 2008.

The
eradication efforts in Afghanistan were being “hampered” by lack of
security, poor planning and inadequate equipment and funding, the
report said. In a welcome trend, the report noted, there had been an
increase in the number of provinces that had become free of opium poppy
and there had been more voluntary eradication efforts by the farmers.
The report also said illicit opium cultivation takes place in Pakistan
and appears to be increasing.

In the Central Asian countries,
the rate of abuse of opiates continues to increase and HIV/AIDS
transmission is growing faster than anywhere in the world, through the
sharing of needles among injecting drug users.

New routes for
trafficking in drugs, including heroin, from countries outside of West
Asia appears to be opening through countries in the Arabian Peninsula.
These new routes lead through countries such as Jordan, Syria and UAE,
the report said. On the drug situation in India, the report said that
pharmaceutical preparations like pethedine and codeine-based cough
syrups were increasingly being smuggled out to neighbouring countries
that continue to feed their “widespread abuse” in South Asia.

The
diversion of pharma products like ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and
morephedrine for production of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) was a
“matter of concern” in India as it is the world’s third largest
producer of such chemicals, it said.

According to the report,
prepared by the ICBN of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,
“pharmaceutical preparations diverted from licit manufacture in India
continue to feed to the widespread abuse” of such products in the
region.

Drugs, which are increasingly being smuggled into the
neigbhouring countries, include pethedine and codeine-based cough
syrups, the report added.

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