Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Posts tagged: drugs

drugs

Nad-e Ali poppy farmer

Thematic Dossier XXIII: Afghan drugs – opium, cannabis and meth

AAN Team

Since AAN was established ten years ago, drugs have often featured in our reporting, both directly and indirectly. Drugs and counter-narcotics efforts are not a priority for either Afghan politicians or foreign donors at this time. However, for anyone seeking to understand Afghanistan’s economy, people’s livelihoods and the political economy of elections, appointments and insurgency, […]

Dossiers Read more

The Myth of ‘Afghan Black’ (2): The cultural history of hashish consumption in Afghanistan

Fabrizio Foschini Jelena Bjelica Obaid Ali

Hashish or chars is a fairly common substance in Afghanistan. Its use, without ever attaining the levels of mass consumption that characterise other lightly-intoxicating substances in other war-torn countries, like the chewing of qat in Yemen or Somalia, for example, has remained relatively widespread. This does not mean that it is condoned by society: hashish-users, known as […]

Context and Culture Read more

The Myth of ‘Afghan Black’ (1): A cultural history of cannabis cultivation and hashish production in Afghanistan

Fabrizio Foschini Jelena Bjelica

The cannabis plant is indigenous to the region of which Afghanistan is a part. Throughout human history, almost every part of the plant has been used – its fibres to make clothes, its oil-rich seeds as a food, its leaves, flowers, and resin as medicine, and of course, as a psychoactive drug. Hashish, made from […]

Context and Culture Read more
The United States and its international allies have pursued various counter-narcotics approaches, centred mainly on eradication and interdiction, since 2001. Here a picture of government-led eradication in Helmand's provincial capital, Lashkar Gah in 2015. The Afghan government’s erdication efforts have been negligible since 2014. Only 3,760 of 183,000 hectares planted with opium poppy have been eradicated in 2015. Credit: Andrew Quilty, 2015.

From Bad to Bombing: US counter-narcotics policies in Afghanistan

Jelena Bjelica

Afghanistan’s opium-driven economy has been a thorn in side of its international backers, and a major challenge for fighting the insurgency and rebuilding a functioning state. Through the lens of the military side of counter-narcotic strategies, the United States and its international allies have pursued various counter-narcotics approaches, centred mainly on eradication and interdiction. However, […]

International Engagement Read more
Poppy field in Helmand. Photo: AAN Staff

A Low-Risk Crop in a High-Risk Environment: Annual opium survey shows Afghan poppy cultivation at a record high

Jelena Bjelica

More opium was grown and more opium paste produced in Afghanistan in 2017 than in any year since the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) began monitoring in 1994. The UNODC’s annual Afghanistan Opium Survey, released today, has shown that 328,000 hectares of land were used to grow poppy this year, an increase […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

AAN Q&A: An established industry – Basic facts about Afghanistan’s opium-driven economy

Jelena Bjelica

Afghanistan’s unflattering label – the world’s leading producer of opium and its derivatives, morphine and heroin – has proved hard to remove. Over the last ten years, opium cultivation has increased steadily reaching unprecedented highs, whilst eradication levels have been decreasing and the country has slowly slid into more severe poverty. To see where Afghanistan […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
Samples of methamphetamine and other synthetic drugs, like ecstasy and MDMA, exhibited in the display cabinet of state-of-the-art CNPA forensics lab in Kabul, Afghanistan (Photo by Jelena Bjelica 2015)

Afghanistan Breaking Bad: Crystal meth, a new drug on the market

Jelena Bjelica

The first methamphetamine seizure in Afghanistan was recorded in 2008, a minor capture of four grams in Helmand province. Now, seven years later, some 17 kilograms of methamphetamine, popularly known as ‘crystal meth’, were seized in the first ten months of 2015, in 14 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. The Ministry of Counter Narcotics warned […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
Poppy field in Helmand. Photo: AAN Staff

“One Year’s Result is Not a Trend”: the 2015 opium cultivation decrease

Jelena Bjelica

The decline (by almost a fifth) in the area of land in Afghanistan planted with opium poppy in 2015 came as a surprise to many. Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan had been on the rise since 2010, when an opium poppy blight halved opium production and triggered a subsequent hike in opium prices. However, the decline […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

Homeless and Unwanted: How Kabul’s drug users are driven from place to place

Jelena Bjelica Qayoom Suroush

The 2015 summer campaign to push drug users out from under the bridge in Pol-e Sokhta and close the ‘addict town’ there has turned into a public spectacle with groups of drug addicts being herded around by the police. Complaints by the surrounding community had forced the police to act, resulting in the partial dispersal of […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more
Badakhshan – from anti-Taleban bulwark to contested province. Photo: Mirco Kreibich (2005).

The 2015 Insurgency in the North (2): Badakhshan’s Jurm district under siege

Obaid Ali

The foreign fighter communities are growing, their recruitment is speeding up and the national security forces deployed to fight them are regularly beaten back – or they give up their bases before, as some claim, “a single bullet has been shot.” Badakhshan, once a province almost free of insurgency, has become contested. AAN’s Obaid Ali […]

War and Peace Read more

19 March 2015, Basle: OPIUM – an exhibition

Thomas Ruttig

OPIUM – that’s the title of an exhibition that opens on 15 March 2015 in the Museum der Kulturen Basel (MKB; Basle Museum of Cultures) in Switzerland. It is curated by Doris Buddenberg, former country director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Kabul and member of the Advisory Board of the Afghanistan […]

Events Read more

The New Gangs of Herat: How young Afghans turn away from their community

S Reza Kazemi

In the city of Herat, an increasing number of young people drop out of school, form petty gangs, become drug addicts and generally have problems with their community. Many of these youth are also connected to friends abroad with several of them migrating to Iran, Europe and Australia to escape the local community, and recently […]

Context and Culture Read more