UN warns of increasing methamphetamine trafficking from Afghanistan

Afghanistan has become a major producer of methamphetamine, according to a United Nations report released on Sunday, which warned of the “threats” posed by the change. Could mean a shift in drug market traditionally dominated by opioids from that country.

“Methamphetamine trafficking in Afghanistan and its neighboring countries has surged, with seizures of the drug sharply increasing nearly 12-fold in five years, from 2.5 tons in 2017 to 29.7 tons in 2021,” the report states. crime problems (UNODC).

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The U.N. agency noted that the illicit production of the narcotic drug posed a “growing threat” and said shipments believed to be from Alfagistan had been seized in regions including the European Union, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa.

UNODC said the increase in seizures showed Afghanistan had become a major producer of methamphetamine. The report states that while heroin trafficking continues, Traditionally, the main drugs are produced in Afghanistan; Drug production has declined since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021 and a ban on drug production was imposed in April 2002.

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However, the UN agency noted that methamphetamine trafficking has increased since the ban was enacted. “The increase in methamphetamine trafficking in Afghanistan and the region signals significant changes in illicit drug markets that require our immediate attention,” UNODC Executive Director Ghada Wali warned in a statement.

The report also analyzes the different production methods of the drug, primarily the use of ephedrine. UNODC noted that while attention in recent years has focused on obtaining the substance from the ephedra plant, the rapid growth in methamphetamine trafficking is unlikely to be based solely on this source.

“While its use is less expensive in the short term, it requires large amounts of ephedra, yields are unreliable and Intensive labor makes methamphetamine trade unlikely, Rapid expansion in Afghanistan may be entirely dependent on ephedra,” the report states.

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UNODC said common cold medicines that are a source of ephedrine, or the bulk industrial-grade substance, “are more effective and profitable for the manufacture of methamphetamine, so they pose a greater threat.”

To this end, the United Nations agency stated International cooperation is essential to prevent the diversion and smuggling of precursor chemicals and stop the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine in Afghanistan and surrounding countries.


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