Saturday, July 01, 2017

Drugs, Mental Illness, Terrorism...,


thenews |  Terrorism, drugs-for-arms and money laundering are intrinsically linked and pose a considerable threat to global peace and security. They destabilise the political and financial stability of many nation-states. They were accelerated in the wake of 9/11. Militants and extremists have a nexus with criminal networks involved in dealing drugs and arms.

Evidence available with intelligence agencies confirms that from Al-Qaeda to Daesh the real challenge involves the free flow of legal and illegal funds. Until today, the international community has failed to sever their financial lifeline.

It is an open secret how the drug trade in post-Taliban Afghanistan was institutionalised through the puppet regime in Kabul and the patronising attitude of war lords in many provinces of the country. Once opium started being processed at a mass scale into morphine and heroin in Afghanistan, it brought tonnes of money for commanders on the ground.

Since 2004, the controlled democracy in Afghanistan has been playing into the hands of more sophisticated narco-enriched commanders. It is no longer a secret that the Taliban – with whom the US and its allies have always been in negotiation since 2004 – knew how to buy or muscle a vote which would protect their opium interests in every election.

Even Afghanistan’s neighbours have been making profits from the windfall: criminal groups from Central Asia, says the UN, have made profits worth $15.2 billion from the trafficking of opiates in 2015. Tajikistan is, by far, the worst affected by the drug plague owing to a combination of history, poverty and geography.

In the late 1990s, the drug trade was believed to be a source of finance for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) – a terrorist group which had bases in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. After the war in Afghanistan, the IMU lost most of its influence. But the drugs trade continued with organised criminals taking the place of political or religious activists. In a survey conducted by the Open Society Institute, eight out of 10 of those polled said – hardly surprisingly – that “the main reason to turn to drug trafficking was to make big money”.