Afghanistan is not only the king of heroin production… It is now becoming a significant global producer of methamphetamine.
The boom is due to a plant called ephedra. It is commonly found in parts of Afghanistan and can be used to create ephedrine, the key component of methamphetamine.
Yes, they produce methamphetamine from a wild crop in the mountains… And that was the gamechanger!
No more need of expensive medicines and labs… only nature and simple chemistry!
Ephedrine is first prepared by people in poor households, who then sell it on to more specialised “meth cooks”.
Using satellite images, researchers have mapped out more than 300 suspected ephedrine labs in just one district in western Afghanistan, Bakwa, the area that is now becoming the meth trade hub in the country.
The US has in the past carried out airstrikes on alleged drugs labs in Afghanistan, bombing 68 in a single day in May 2019, but has since abandoned the campaign.
Taliban charge drug traffickers a tax
According to official reports, the Taliban could be earning in excess of $4m a year from Bakwa district alone, depending on the quantity of ephedrine and methamphetamine being produced.
They level taxes both on farmers harvesting the ephedra crop, and then again on anyone transporting the drug for sale.
Where does the Taliban meth goes?
It is consumed in Afghanistan, in Iran and it seems it is also now being trafficked much further afield.
This year, hundreds of kilograms of the drug have been found hidden onboard cargo boats during search operations by the Sri Lankan Navy.
The Afghan methamphetamine could end up in Europe too, following an established heroin route from Pakistan and Iran and then through East Africa.
Large seisures of meth from Afghanistan were also made in Australia in recent years.
The Afghan meth may become the next drug epidemic worldwide, after heroin… And that’s really bad for our children and the children of our children. Be vigilant! More drug news on BBC, Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle.
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