War on drugs for peace in Afghanistan: Lessons from South America

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Trafficking of opiates as a means to finance armed conflicts in Afghanistan dates back to the Jihadists’ fight against the Soviet invasion in the 1980s. This policy brief is based on finding a way to eliminate the repercussions of this drug economy both in Afghanistan and in the drug destination countries in the so-called ‘West’. The paper uses the similarly situated conflict between the FARC rebel group and the Colombian government as an inspiration for approaches to peace in Afghanistan. It argues, based on an analysis of the development of illicit crop cultivation in both Afghanistan and Colombia, that Afghan farmers are most likely to be encouraged to cultivate food crops instead of opium poppy, the base plant for opium and heroin, when the profit margins of opium remain consistently low. The paper further asserts that a comprehensive rural reform as well as a voluntary crop substitution scheme, as stipulated by the 2016 FARC peace agreement with the Colombian government, are feasible to be implemented also in Afghanistan. Moreover, the policy brief puts a focus on how the West, as a major market for Afghan heroin, can help the situation in the country. Using the 2013 cannabis legalisation regulations in Uruguay and other cutting-edge approaches to drug use, the paper encourages Western nations to experiment with national measures aimed at reducing the adverse effects of drug consumption while at the same time reducing demand in black-market narcotics. It is suggested that implementing such legislation would help drain profits from transnational drug syndicates and sustain-ably decrease the profit margins of illicit crops, such as opium poppy.

Document type: Working paper
Publisher: South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF)
Place of Publication: Brussels
Date: 2018
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2021
Number of Pages: 33
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: Political science
Commerce, communications, transport
Controlled Keywords: Afghanistan, Kolumbien, Uruguay, Drogenhandel, Landwirtschaft
Uncontrolled Keywords: Afghanistan, Kolumbien, Uruguay, Opium, Heroin, Schlafmohn, Drogenhandel, Landwirtschaft, Drogenkartelle, Schwarzmarkt, Konsum, Legalisierung / Afghanistan, Colombia, Uruguay, opium, heroin, opium poppy, drug trafficking, agriculture, drug cartels, black market, consumption, legalization
Subject (classification): Politics
Countries/Regions: other countries
Series: Themen > SADF Policy Brief
Volume: 8
Additional Information: ISSN: 2406-5625