Friday, November 19, 2021

Afghanistan moves into meth

A new report warns that Afghanistan is becoming a significant global producer of meth. The country's opium poppy fields are already the source of most of the world's heroin, but it is warned the growing meth trade could be just as big. The boom comes on the heels of a discovery by drug traffickers that a plant commonly found growing wild in parts of Afghanistan, ephedra, can be used to create the key component of meth: ephedrine. A district in western Afghanistan, Bakwa, has become the hub of the meth trade in the country.
Raw ephedrine is very cheap and the chemistry is simple.
The Taliban charge the drug traffickers a tax. The report estimates the Taliban could be earning in excess of $4m a year from Bakwa district alone. Instability in the country isn't hurting business. "Business has never been better," said one smuggler, with a laugh.

Ephedra is known as oman in some areas of the country and bandak in others. It grows abundantly across Afghanistan’s mountainous central highlands.