Nearly 80 percent of all households in the Afghan district of Ghoryan, located in Herat province along the Iranian border, are involved in some stage of the crystal methamphetamine-making process that is currently fueling addiction epidemics plaguing Afghanistan and Iran, TRT World reported this week.
TRT is the national broadcaster of the government of Turkey.
According to the United Nations, Herat is the top crystal meth-producing province in Afghanistan. Herat lies on Afghanistan’s border with Iran where crystal meth use is rampant.
TRT suggested that the crystal meth epidemic gripping Iran has spilled over to Afghanistan, noting that many Afghan meth “cooks” learned their skills in the Islamic Republic.
The news outlet revealed:
In a country, where more than half the population lives on less than a dollar a day, a single household in Ghoryan can make nearly $400 a month from helping in the production process or storing the chemical compounds necessary for production. The local leader said 80 percent of Ghoryan households are now involved in some stage of the process. This represents a major increase from the 30 or 40 households that residents said were initially involved in the process.
TRT found that production of methamphetamines or crystal meth “puts food on the tables of more than 68,000 people at a time when unemployment in Afghanistan has reached 40 percent,” adding: “Largely shielded from the airstrikes both coalition and Afghan forces have launched on so-called ‘drug labs’ across a dozen southern, eastern and western provinces, tens of thousands of Ghoryan residents have embraced crystal meth as a lucrative source of economic empowerment.”
Echoing the U.N., TRT reported that production of the drug is booming in Herat, citing troubles in the local economy. “Narcos” reportedly realized it was cheaper to produce the drug in Afghanistan and move it back to Iran where the use of the drug has become an epidemic.
Along with North America, South Asia is one of the main markets for methamphetamines in the world, the United Nations reported last year, adding:
In recent years, there have been an increasing number of reports of methamphetamine seizures in Afghanistan. …Between March 2011 and March 2015 … Herat province, in the western part of Afghanistan, reported the majority of methamphetamine seizure cases in in the country, at a total of 177 cases.
Noor Ahmad Arab, the director of a series of local, non-governmental drug treatment centers across Herat province, told TRT that “90 percent of the addicts he treats now are suffering from crystal meth addiction.”
TRT accused local security forces of being involved in the trafficking of meth.
The Pentagon has acknowledged that the Afghan Taliban has generated hundreds of millions from drug trafficking activities, mainly the flow of opium and its heroin derivative. Opium and heroin are the Taliban’s top source of revenue.