Tajikistan Fears New Surge In Drug Trafficking Due To Instability In Afghanistan

The government of Tajikistan on Friday expressed concern over a possible new surge in drug trafficking due to ongoing political instability in its neighbor Afghanistan.

Briefing journalists in Dushanbe, Habibullo Vohidzoda, Tajikistan’s Head of the Drug Control Agency said they had gained significant achievements in curbing drug trafficking in 2021, but expressed fear it could be challenging this year due to instability in Afghanistan.

Vohidzoda said the volume of illegal narcotics they interdicted last year had increased by almost 69 percent.

Vohidzoda appealed to the international community to help Tajikistan to combat what he described could be a new surge of trafficking provoked by the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

Vohidzoda also called for strengthening Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan to not only stop drug smuggling but also weapons. “We must strengthen our borders in every way,” Vohidzoda said.

Vohidzoda said that based on the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, or UNODC, opium crops were cultivated across an area of 177,000 hectares in Afghanistan last year.   

According to UNODC, methamphetamine originating in Afghanistan has been reported over the period 2019 – 2021 in neighboring Iran and Pakistan, Central Asia “Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan” and Transcaucasia “Azerbaijan”, and as far afield as Europe “Czech Republic and France”, South-East Asia.

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