Home Contact Us
Search :
   

Afghanistan - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#1565, 30 November 2004
 
War on Terror and Revival of Drug Trade in Afghanistan
Sanjay Kumar
Freelancer, New Delhi
 

The War on Terror launched by the US in Afghanistan after the attack on the twin towers managed to change the regime in that country. It also improved the security situation in South Asia and the neighbouring regions but has failed to establish functional state in Afghanistan. The continuous instability in this war-torn country has revived some old problems, the most important is the thriving drug trade.

Afghanistan has a long history regarding drug trading. When the Afghan Mujahedins were fighting the Soviets, they depended heavily on the drug trade for revenue. The country remained engulfed in the civil war for almost a decade even after the withdrawal of the USSR from Afghanistan. The fundamentalist Taliban came to power in 1996 and banned the use of all intoxicants, including opiates, to gain some international recognition to counter their growing isolation. They managed to reduce opium production from 3,276 tons in 2000 to just 185 tons in 2001. Following the Taliban's ouster, the new government outlawed opium production, but the chaos prevailing meant that poppy fields were replanted and smuggling revived.

The US managed to displace the Taliban and install the government of Hamid Karzai, who recently won the presidential elections in Afghanistan. But his control hardly extends beyond Kabul. The US forces, some 18,000 in number, are already stretched to the limits. Moreover, they do not appear keen to increase their presence in Afghanistan.

Though the change of regime in Afghanistan was useful for security purposes, it did not provide Afghan people with an alternative source of income. Poppy cultivation has filled this void, and has spread to 28 of the 32 provinces. The Afghan government figures that about 30 percent of Afghan families are involved in the trade. Besides the Taliban, many of Karzai's local warlord allies are also involved in drug trafficking. Heroin and opium trafficking earned revenues estimated at $2.5 billion last year.

With more than 1.5 million Afghans involved in a trade worth an estimated US$2.5 billion annually, trying to change the situation overnight could backfire, and lead to deteriorating security and stability. It simply cannot be done by military and authoritarian means, which has been tried in the past and found unsustainable.
Any crackdown is likely to affect those already most disadvantaged, poor farmers, who are also the most likely to turn against any authority that interferes with their ability to provide for their families. It would also cut into the income of the country's previous Taliban rulers, and the warlords and military commanders who control much of the countryside.

The issue of poppy cultivation and drug trade is a sensitive issue in Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, despite Afghanistan being the source of over 75 percent of the world's heroin, and 95 percent of Europe's supplies, the issue did not figure in the election promises of any of the 18 candidates running for president. But the country’s exploding drug production became an issue in the US presidential campaign. In a debate in Florida, Democratic candidate John F. Kerry cited the burgeoning opium crop as evidence of President Bush’s "colossal misjudgment" in turning his attention from Afghanistan to wage war in Iraq.

The US does not want its military forces, already tasked with counterterrorism and security operations, to become Afghanistan's antinarcotics police. It believes that the drug trade and poppy cultivation should be controlled by the Afghan police, army and judicial authorities which the allied forces are helping to establish. But this is a tall order for a barely functioning Afghan state.

The United States is facing a curious situation in Afghanistan. Its preoccupation with the War on Terror has not allowed them to focus on drug-trafficking. As the drug trade is assuming menacing proportions it wants to take steps, but a crackdown would affect poor farmers who may go back to the Taliban. This will undermine its operations against al-Qaeda and other international terrorist groups.

To deal with the drug problem steps have to be taken on many fronts. The laboratories where these drugs are processed should be the primary target of any campaign to stamp out the drug trade. The authorities have to deal with issues like the farmers' debt, crop substitution and compensation schemes. They have also to improve the judicial system so that anti-drug laws are fairly implemented and the people responsible for drug processing are identified.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Stability in 2015
Sri Lanka: Making a Case for Change
Connecting Sri Lanka: Train to Jaffna
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Burying the Past: A New Beginning for Pakistan and Afghanistan
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Bangladesh: Diplomatic Manoeuvres at the UNGA
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism’s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
IPCS Forecast: East Asia in 2015
China-North Korea: Reasons for Reconciliation
Abe-Jinping Summit Meet: A Thaw in China-Japan Relations?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?
The Future of SAARC is Now

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ‘Look East’ to ‘Act East’
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
India’s Northeast: Need for a New Anti-Terror Policy
India-China: Securitising Water
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015
India and Maritime Security: Do More
Indian Ocean and the IORA: Search and Rescue Operations

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
IPCS Forecast: Left-wing Extremism in 2015
Maoist Attack on the CRPF: Time for New Counter-strategies
Naxal Violence: Challenges to Jharkhand Polls

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
18th SAARC Summit: An Economic Agenda
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security
Obama’s New Strategy towards the Islamic State: Implications for India

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
IPCS Forecast: West Asia in 2015
Rise of the Islamic State: Implications for the Arab World
Islamic State: The Efficacy of Counter-strategies
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
The Af-Pak Entity: Seduction to Armageddon?
Maritime Combat Power in the Indo-Pacific
Of Lawrence, Sykes-Picot and al-Baghdadi
Voice from America
Amit Gupta
Obama’s Rapprochement with Cuba
China's Global Ambition: Need to Emulate Germany
Mid-Term Elections: So What If the US Swings Hard Right?


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Fighting Terror: Use of Non-lethal Weapons

Obama’s Af-Pak Strategy: Why It Will Not Work

China’s Naval Strategy: Implications for India

The West and 26/11: A ‘Contain India’ Policy?

Should India Join NATO to Combat Terrorism?

The Future Combat System

Dealing with Pakistan: The Nuclear Dimension

Asymmetric Capabilities of China's Military

China: A Rising Threat in Space

China's Growing Defence Budget: Cause for Alarm

Kashmir: India and Pakistan back to Incrementalism

Nepal: Maoists hold State and People to Ransom

Dominance of China in the post-MFA World Raises Concern

Managing Ethnic Conflict: Lessons from the Bodo Experience

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2015
 January
 2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007
 2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999
 1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | IPCS Email
B 7/3 Lower Ground Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1900, Tel: 91-11-4100-1901, Tel/Fax: 91-11-4100-1902

Email:
© Copyright 2015, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
        Web Design by http://www.indiainternets.com