1. Afghanistan $7.3 Billion

  2. Black Market Crime in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from the black market in Afghanistan. Threat information and assessments collected from intelligence and security agencies, news articles and other public information sources.

Security Agencies guarding the borders of the European Union detected 107,000 people who were attempting to illegally enter the EU in 2013.

The number of people detected by security forces was higher than the 75,000 people detected in 2012.

Intelligence officials stated that most of the people attempting to be smuggled into the EU or illegally enter the EU in 2013 were from Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.

Source:  Alan Cowell and Dan Bilefsky, “European Agency Reports Surge in Illegal Migration, Fueling a Debate,” New York Times, May 30, 2014.

A teenager who sells crystal meth in Tehran, Iran, told the media that he sells a gram of crystal meth for about $5. Buyers of meth in Iran include many students and middle-class workers. According to the dealer, meth is more expensive than heroin in Iran, and many young people in Iran see crystal meth as “a luxury drug.” Many women have started to take crystal meth in order to lose weight and state that the methamphetamine pills are “cheaper than liposuction.”

(How much does meth cost?)

Government security agents in Iran reported seizing 3,500 kilograms of crystal meth in Iran in 2013, along with discovering 375 meth labs.

Security services in Iran spend up to $1 Billion a year combating drug trafficking along the border with Afghanistan. 80 percent of the executions conducted by the Iranian government are on charges related to drug trafficking.

From the time of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 to 2014, nearly 4,000 security personnel have been killed while conducting anti-narcotics operations.

(Additional crystal meth facts.)

Source:  Ramita Navai, “Breaking bad in Tehran: how Iran got a taste for crystal meth,” Guardian, May 13, 2014.

Criminal justice agencies in Iran have reported that 570 tons of illegal drugs were seized across the country during the Iranian fiscal year, which fan from March 21,2013 to March 20, 2014. The types of illicit drugs confiscated included opium, heroin, morphine, and hashish. Over 70 percent of the seized narcotics were opium.

According to security forces, over 70 percent of the drugs that were seized took place on the country’s eastern borders, which lies next to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Afghanistan supplies over 90 percent of the world’s opium supply, and the trafficking of opium is estimated to contribute up to 15 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP.

(What is the price of heroin around the world?)

Source:  “Iranian Official: 70% of Illicit Drugs Confiscated along Eastern Borders,” Tasnim News Agency, April 14, 2014.


In 2013, criminal justice programs in the Netherlands investigated 175 cases of human smuggling across the country. The number of smuggling cases were an increase of 25 percent from the human smuggling cases investigated in 2012.

An estimated 1,500 people are residing in the Netherlands without proper documents or visas. Most of these individuals originated from Afghanistan and Syria. Security officials state that most of the people are attempting to continue onto Germany, Scandinavia or France.

The Royal Military Police also investigated 122 human trafficking cases in the Netherlands in 2013. The trafficking cases increased by 10 percent from 2012.

(Price of human traffickers and victims when sold.)

Source:  Mazime Zech, “More Human Trafficking Last Year,” NL Times, March 21, 2014.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, organized crime groups that facilitate human smuggling are able to generate up to $109 Million a year from transporting illegal migrants around the world.

Most of the people that are smuggled are from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and are attempting to enter Australia by traveling by sea across the Indian Ocean. Many of the people that utilize these services are religious minorities who are escaping persecution and attempting to claim asylum in Australia.

There are also cases reported of Pakistani migrants who are smuggled to Europe. According to the UNODC, there have been incidents where the migrants have been caught holding fake id cards and counterfeit documents.

In addition, criminal justice departments in Pakistan have also seen an increase in people from Syria and Egypt using these human smuggling networks to escape the violence in their countries.

Source:  Ayaz Gul, “UN: Human Trafficking Increasing in Pakistan,” Voice of America, January 23, 2014.

Between 2009 and 2012, security services in India arrested 820 foreign nationals for drug trafficking crimes. Nearly 80 percent of those arrested came from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal and Nigeria.

In the four year time period, data from criminal justice programs shows that 224 Nepalis were arrested for drug trafficking in India, followed by 191 Nigerians, 173 people from Myanmar and 32 people from Afghanistan.

The top drugs trafficked by the foreign nationals included marijuana and hashish, followed by heroin and cocaine.

Source:  Chethan Kumar, “Papa Joes thrive despite tough measures against drug cartels,” Times of India, December 20, 2013.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that the total area in Afghanistan that was planted with opium was 209,000 hectares in 2013. Out of the total area, the potential production of opium was 5,500 tones.

The are of opium cultivation in 2013 was the highest levels ever recorded an a 36 percent increase from the year before. It was also the first time ever that the total area of opium cultivation was over 200,000 hectares.

Source:  “Afghanistan opium harvest at record high – UNODC,” BBC News, November 13, 2013.

There were an estimated 1.6 million drug users in Afghanistan in 2013, roughly 5.3 percent of the country’s population. 10 percent of households across Afghanistan has at least one drug user residing there.

In the city of Herat, 20 percent of households has a drug user residing there with roughly 8 percent of the city population abusing drugs. Across the entire province, security services state that there are 60,000 to 70,000 drug addicts, with public health programs claiming 100,000.  18 percent of intravenous drug users in the city were infected with HIV, compared to 3 percent of intravenous drug users in Kabul.

In October 2013, the intelligence agency of Afghanistan fired 65 employees because they were addicted to opium.

(See all heroin addiction facts.)

In order to treat the drug addicts, there are under 28,000 formal drug treatment slots available nationwide, according to health officials. The criminal justice system of Afghanistan spends less than $4 Million a year on treatment, and relies on $12 Million in international aid to meet the costs.

Between 2001 and 2013, the United States has spent over $6 Billion to battle the opium industry in Afghanistan. In 2010 to 2012, opium cultivation increased to its highest levels since 2008. Demand for Afghan heroin and the prices of heroin have remained steady.

Source:  Azam Ahmed, “That Other Big Afghan Crisis, the Growing Army of Addicts,” New York Times, November 2, 2013.

According to an investigation by NBC News,  supplies from the United States military are being sold in street markets in Kabul, Afghanistan. Along with whey protein powder, Oakley sunglasses and lemon-scented Pledge, hardware from US security forces are openly sold.

Based on the report, high-tech night vision goggles were being sold for $1,500. Firearm scopes are sold in the stalls for $200, and U.S. military issued infrared sights sell for $250.

Military uniforms of the Afghan National Army are also sold at these stalls. For a national army uniform, a customer would have to pay $50. For the entire uniform including boots and badges, a customer would pay $125.

(Price of AK-47s and other guns sold on the black market.)

Security officials with the United States Defense Department are concerned that these uniforms and supplies allow insurgents to gain access to US bases and to commit insider attacks.

Source:  Kiko Itasaka, “In Afghanistan, insider attacks begin with a trip to the market,” NBC News, October 6, 2013.

Russia’s Counter-Narcotics Agency stated that there are nearly 1,900 organized crime groups and 150 major drug cartels that are trafficking illegal drugs into Russia. These illegal networks operate in Central Asia and use 100,000 drug mules to transport heroin from Afghanistan into Russia.

Intelligence agencies across Russia estimate that there are over 2,000 drug processing laboratories in Northern Afghanistan that produced heroin exclusively for the Russian market.

Nearly 1.5 million people in Russia are addicted to heroin, with roughly 30,000 people dying each year from heroin abuse. Nearly 150,000 people are arrested each year for drug offenses.

(Cost of heroin around the world.)

Source:  “1,900 Gangs Smuggling Afghan Drugs to Russia – Anti-Narcotics Agency,” RIA Novosti, September 13, 2013.