In 2012, opium grown in Afghanistan accounted for 75 percent of heroin used around the world. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime forecasts that in 2013, Afghan opium will account for 90 percent of the world’s heroin market.
Out of the 34 provinces in the country, opium cultivation increased in 12 of them in 2012. Areas where cultivation has increased dramatically is where United States troops were stationed. Over 70 percent of the opium cultivation takes place in three provinces where the American surge took place.
Source: Rod Nordland, “Production of Opium by Afghans Is Up Again,” New York Times, April 15, 2013.
Representatives with the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics in Afghanistan estimate that there were over 1.5 million adults in the country who were regularly used drugs. Back in 2005, there were an estimated 920,000 drug users in Afghanistan.
25 percent of homes that had adult drug use was found to have exposed young children.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime states that no other country in the world produces as much heroin, opium and hashish as Afghanistan.
Source: Cesar Chelala, “Afghanistan’s legacy of child opium addiction,” Japan Times, Opinion, March 1, 2013.
According to the Government of Afghanistan, around 191,500 rural households in the country were dependent on growing illicit drugs as their source of income in 2011. Most of the households were growing opium.
(See the price of heroin worldwide.)
Source: Dawood Azami, “Why Afghanistan may never eradicate opium,” BBC News, February 25, 2013.
A former police office collects documents and applications for clients in order to help them obtain their drivers license at the traffic department. The man pays government officials between $10 to $20 in bribes in order to facilitate the paperwork. With the bribes, the client is able to receive his driver’s license at a much quicker rate, rather then waiting for several weeks, if not months if he didn’t pay the bribe.
For his service, the broker pockets between $20 to $40 for his service. In total, he is able to make up to $10,000 a year, twice the yearly salary of what he made as a police officer.
Source: Kevin Sieff, “To cut Afghan red tape, bribery is the norm,” Washington Post, February 17, 2013.
According to the United Nations, the cost of corruption in Afghanistan in 2012 was $3.9 Billion. The amount of corruption is 40 percent higher than the 2009 figure.
Despite the higher figure, the total number of people paying bribes in Afghanistan was lower than the 2009 survey. 50 percent of survey respondents reported paying bribes in 2012, compared to 59 percent in 2009. However, those paying in 2012 said that they were paying bribes more frequently.
The biggest area where bribes were being paid was in the education sector. In 2009, just 16 percent of respondents said that they were bribing teachers. In 2012, the number of people bribing teaching was at 51 percent.
The price of an average bribe paid in the country was $214.
Source: “Afghanistan bribery cost ‘increases sharply’,” BBC News, February 7, 2013, and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “CORRUPTION IN AFGHANISTAN: RECENT PATTERNS AND TRENDS,” February 2012.
According to statistics released by the Iranian Government, nearly 4,000 police officers from Iran has been killed over the past 33 years due to drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan.
Iran shares a 900 kilometer border with Afghanistan. Drug traffickers cross the border and transport opium in order to reach the illegal drugs markets of Europe.
Source: “UN lauds Iran’s effective role in fighting drug trafficking,” Press TV, January 6, 2013.
At the end of 2012, the reported price of an AK-47 on the black market in Afghanistan was $1,500. Three years prior, the reported price was between $600 to $700 in the country. The price for grenade launchers, pistols and PK machine guns have also risen in 2012.
The rise in prices for weapons is caused by increased demand for firearms in anticipation of international forces leaving Afghanistan.
(See more AK-47 prices on the black market.)
Source: Heath Druzin, “Fearing post-2014 environment, Afghans buy up weapons,” Stars and Stripes, December 5, 2012.
Migrants from Afghanistan who want to be smuggled into neighboring Iran pay human smugglers $700 to guide them across the border.
There are an estimated 1.4 million Afghanistan migrants working and living in Iran. The migrants send up to $500 Million back home to Afghanistan.
(See more human smuggling fees.)
Source: Amie Ferris-Rotman, “Iran pushes out Afghans as regional power-play heats up,” Reuters, December 2, 2012.
According to the Counternarcotics Minister of Afghanistan, the Taliban earned at least $155 Million from poppy cultivation and the opium trade in 2012.
The Government of Afghanistan reported that 102 police officers, soldiers and civilians were killed from attacks by poppy farmers and the Taliban during eradication efforts throughout the year. An additional 127 people were injured during the eradication efforts.
(See world heroin prices here.)
Along with the Taliban, opium farmers in Afghanistan are invested in to the drug smuggling industry. According to reports, a farmer can earn up to $120 per hectare when growing wheat in Afghanistan. If that farmer were to plant poppy seeds and harvest opium, that same hectare of land can result up to $10,000 a year.
Source: Alissa J. Rubin, “Opium Cultivation Rose This Year in Afghanistan, U.N. Survey Shows,” New York Times, November 20, 2012.
Farmers in Afghanistan grew an estimated 1,300 tons of cannabis in 2011, according to the United Nations.
Around 65,000 households in the country grow cannabis, up from the 47,000 households that were involved in the industry in 2010.
A farmer who grows cannabis in Afghanistan was able to make $95 per Kilogram of cannabis resin in 2011.
(World marijuana prices)
Source: Emma Graham-Harrison, “More Afghan families turn to cannabis cultivation,” Guardian, October 8, 2012.