The unholy nexus of the Pakistan Army and the Taliban's involvement in the narco trade was revealed by the NATO Defence Education Enhancement Program (DEEP) report.
According to this 2022 report titled "Narco-Insecurity, Inc, the convergence of Pakistan and Afghanistan narco-trade was made possible with the help of Pakistan's military spy agency the ISI, which launched several covert operations with sympathetic jihadist groups, all of whom relied heavily on narcotics trafficking to fund their operations," reported South Asia Press.
The illegal narcotics trade constitutes one of the main financial sources of the insurgency groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but, more importantly, it feeds narco-terror, globally.
Moreover, Af-Pak heroin networks, drug lords and their nexus with the Taliban and Pakistani military present a principal impediment to security, state-building, and democratic governance in Afghanistan and the region.
Pakistan's role in drug proliferation is validated by a number of arrests of its nationals in other countries on charges of drug trafficking.
It is reported that Pakistan has established smuggling networks over the last years into India - and especially within the Kashmir valley - so as to ensure a steady supply of narcotics and weapons, reported South Asia Press.
The central aim of this NATO academic report written by David R Winston is to analyse the growth of the narcotics industry stemming from Afghanistan as well as Pakistan and the nexus that has formed between narcotics trafficking and terrorism.
The Taliban have long used narcotics as their main source of revenue. Without the poppy crop, they may never have grown to be the massive organisation that they are today that was capable of toppling the Ghani government, as per the writer.
With the control of Afghanistan by the Taliban last year, the terror group has acquired control over the opium cultivation in the country, reported South Asia Press.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) November 2021 Report, Afghanistan accounted for around 85 per cent of global opium production in the year 2020 and supplied approximately 80 per cent of the world's opium consumers.
The total value of opiates (opium, morphine, and heroin) was 9 per cent to 14 per cent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. Methamphetamine and cannabis are two other major drugs that have expanded production in Afghanistan in recent years, reported South Asia Press.
With Pakistan sharing 2,400 kilometres of the largely porous border with Afghanistan, it has served as a transit corridor for drug traffickers. According to independent estimates, more than 40 per cent of Afghan drugs transit Pakistan before they reach the international markets.
Tonnes of opiates and meth are trafficked from Afghanistan to the Torkham border crossing, Ghulam Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, from where they are sent to Lahore and Faisalabad, reassembled into huge consignments, reported South Asia Press.
Beyond the region, Afghan-originated drugs create enormous challenges for international security by financing terrorism, instigating corruption, and creating health emergencies. It is time to put an end to such "narco" trade originating from Afghanistan and supported by Pakistan, reported South Asia Press.
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