The struggles in the Middle East and Asia caused by drug trafficking

Gabriel Henrique de Paula Alves 
Assistant Director of UNODC 2017

One of the biggest problems caused by the drug trafficking in the Middle East and Asia is money laundering. It is used not only to finance the trafficking itself, but also  terrorism and  human trafficking. Drug smuggling is one of the causes for the instability in some countries, like in Afghanistan, which it was considered as the lead opium producer in the world and the largest sale of cannabis in the Middle East. The Center of American Progress reporter, in 2015, that kinds of illicit activities sustain the weakness on the rule of law on the nation, which strengthens the fragile Afghan Government and making unavailable the assistance of basic services, as health and education. Therefore, the Center of American Progress recognized “the weak oversight of anti-money laundering controls coupled with the systemic corruption plaguing Afghan institutions serves to compound the narcotics conundrum” (Center of American Progress, 2015).

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko, made a report in February of 2015 which had the testimony to a U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations subcommittee highlighting the perils of the Afghan drug trade:

The expanding cultivation and trafficking of drugs puts the entire U.S. and international investment in the reconstruction of Afghanistan at risk. The narcotics trade, which not only supports the insurgency but also feeds organized crime and corruption, puts the gains the U.S. agencies and their international partners have achieved over the past 13 years in women’s issues, health, education, rule of law, and governance in jeopardy.(CENTER OF AMERICAN PROGRESS, 2015).

As a support and cooperation to assist the countries to contain and fight against the illicit financing, the UNODC takes care of the Global Programme to combat the money laundering, proceeds of crime and the financing of terrorism, adopted by the General Assembly on the United Nations  (UNODC). The Assembly, which Afghanistan  has the purpose to reinforce the ability of members to make resolutions to combat  money laundering and the financing of terrorism, (UNODC).  


Source: UNODC, 2014

This map shows how strong are the illicit activities in Afghanistan and the result of this for others countries near it, like Pakistan, some European states and Asia. Along that, the opium produced in Afghanistan has a larger proposition in the world, more than countries in Latin America and the location is also important to sale and exportation of the drug. The smuggling of drugs, humans and firearms is another point that must be discussed in view of the violation of Human Rights, and the problems caused to the countries, as a result of the instability could be born in the States and the difficult to control this issue.


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