Posted on 20 Dec 2011
Too great a focus on traditional security issues can make us lose track of how intertwined they are with the drug problem. The importance of poppy cultivation to the finances of the Taliban and other belligerent entities in the Afghan arena is well known. Opiates that stem from poppy cultivation cause severe drug problems in the world, particularly in Europe and Asia. The flow of drugs from Afghanistan is less well known. The opium and heroin from poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has a market that is generated from a demand. The greatest demand for Afghan drugs originates mainly in Europe and Russia, estimated to account for about half of the global heroin market. This traffic creates great problems in
transit areas where insufficient capacity at the local level worsens the drug problem. This development is especially dangerous for countries adjacent to Afghanistan through which much trafficking goes. The Afghan drug trade is becoming a source of corruption and funding for extremist groups along the routes, especially in Central Asian countries.