(RepublicanNews.org) – Despite the Taliban outlawing narcotics following their resumption of power in Afghanistan in 2021, it appears that the home of the poppy is fast becoming an alternative hub for producers of methamphetamine. According to the United Nations, a ban on opium production in the country left traffickers and poor farmers desperate for fresh sources of revenue.
The vacuum left by seizures related to heroin has reportedly been filled by producers with easy access to meth precursor chemicals that are regulated in much of the rest of the world. Additionally, subsistence farmers once dependent on poppy cultivation to feed their families have been able to easily convert their fields over to the production of the ephedra plant.
Pseudoephedrine, which is arguably the most popular precursor amongst meth manufacturers, is derived from ephedra. In 2006, former President George W. Bush signed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 into law. His signature banned over-the-counter sales of products containing pseudoephedrine, and meth traffickers were forced to set up shop overseas.
The U.N. department that monitors the global narcotics trade says that Afghanistan-based methamphetamine is beginning to appear in Europe and Africa. According to the agency, seizures of the stimulant inside Afghanistan climbed more than 2,600% between 2019 and 2021. Around 220 pounds was discovered in 2019 versus 6000 pounds being interdicted just two years later.
Although Myanmar and Mexico are the world’s current top exporters of meth, neither country is home to the ephedra plant. Both nations are dependent on a steady supply of regulated precursors.
In spite of the uptick in meth being trafficked out of Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesperson said the regime has destroyed 644 narcotics factories since coming to power. The Islamists have also leveled a reported 12,000 acres of illegal crops and arrested more than 6,000 people involved in the trade. That same spokesperson said his nation’s illegal drug trade will be crippled within four years.
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