News / Asia

UN: Afghanistan is Top Opium Producer, User

Farmers walk at a poppy field in Jalalabad province, April 7, 2013.
Farmers walk at a poppy field in Jalalabad province, April 7, 2013.
Sharon Behn
Afghanistan once again was the world’s largest opium producer in 2012, churning out 74 percent of the world illegal opium. According to the United Nations, Afghanistan’s drug-fueled economy both funds the insurgency there and threatens to further undermine the country’s fragile economy and security.

Not only is Afghanistan yet again the world’s largest grower and producer of illegal opium. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime representative Jean-Luc Lemahieu says it also has more than one million drug users.

"Afghanistan itself has become a consumption country and has one of the highest levels of addiction, globally speaking,” he said.

He says the easy availability of opiates, corruption and a population now in its third decade of war has resulted in the increased distribution and use of illegal drugs, as people to try and escape the hardships of their daily lives.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says the illicit trade threatens to undermine the country’s security and economy and is creating havoc among its own citizens.

According to the U.N. agency, only ten percent of Afghan drug users received any form of drug treatment in 2012, the year covered in its World Drug Report.

Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics spokesman Zabihullah Dayam says that Afghanistan, which borders Pakistan, Iran and Central Asia, cannot fight the drug problem on its own.

He says, “As long as we don’t have a joint regional and even beyond regional cooperation and commitments, it will be difficult for the Afghan government to succeed.”

Sayad Azam Iqbal, a former official with the counter narcotics ministry and now an expert on drug-related issues in Afghanistan, says the responsibility for solving the problem lies with the government and international community.

“The main problem, the main source of the problem, is in Afghanistan and the Afghan government and those international forces helping the Afghan government. It is their primary responsibility to tackle this issue,” said Iqbal.

But Lemahieu of the United Nations says the problems are multi-fold, including corruption, criminality, collusion with insurgency, and the non-delivery of needed government services.

“That means at this moment, the government as such, and the international community which is already providing support and assistance, we don’t have enough services to cope with the problems affecting this country at this moment,” he said.

Lemahieu says Afghanistan’s three core institutions fighting narcotics are functioning stronger than ever before. However, so far, there has been no discussion as to how that will continue after the security and political transition is complete and international combat forces leave at the end of 2014.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ram from: USA
June 27, 2013 1:06 PM
USA and NATO SHOULD control this situation.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More