One of the key problems that is often overlooked by Western media is the prevalence of drug addiction in Central Asia, as a result of the Central Asian Republic’s proximity to Afghanistan, which is a leading producer in poppy flowers – therefore heroin and opium. Smuggling routes for drugs out of Afghanistan go through Central Asia, increasing domestic drug usage.
As Central Asia becomes a transport hub for NATO, road infrastructure is likely to improve, which could lead to an increase in the volume of drugs smuggled through the region and into Russia. Below are stories about drug usage in the five Central Asian Republics to give an idea of the severity of the problem.
Kazakhstan: Trying to Tame the White Horse: “Officially, Kazakhstan has 46,766 narcotics users, according to figures cited in June by drugs czar Anatoliy Vyborov, who heads the government Committee for Combating the Narcotics Trade. Actual usage is believed to be much higher: some estimates put it at 100,000; others believe it could be twice that.”
All Roads Lead to Afghanistan: (Tajikistan) “While there were other factors at play in the recent clashes in Khorog, control of the lucrative narcotics trade was key. Prior to these events, Ayombekov was a deputy commander of a Tajik-Afghan army border unit, and reportedly played a key role in drug trafficking and smuggling operations. Despite the fact that officials in Tajik capital Dushanbe have known for a long time of his alleged involvement in these activities, they have only now sought to remove him from his position in the region.”
Due to inaction of Kyrgyzstan police officers our country turns into a drug user from transit country – Kolbay Musayev “Due to inaction of Kyrgyzstan police officers our country turns into a drug user from transit country,” Kolbay Musayev, head of the Defence, Security and Emergency Situations Department for the Government’s Office, stated at today’s board. According to him, the results in the fight against drug trafficking, which is increasing leave much to be desired. “The police officers working in the General Department for Combating Narcotrafficking are detained. They are involved in drug crimes in Batken, Osh and Chui provinces,” he stressed.”
UN, Turkmenistan to Expand Cooperation in Combating Drugs: “Turkmenistan has a long border with Afghanistan. The next action is for the destruction of large quantities of drugs seized during special operations that took place at the area of Kasamly Dzhulge near Ashgabat in December last year.More than 489 kilograms of drugs were destroyed.”
Will domestic disturbances and drugs crash US-Uzbek honeymoon?: “In addition to the possibility of a political upheaval, Tashkent must face the prospect of increased heroin trafficking from Afghanistan, specifically in the Fergana Valley (the Fergana Valley comprises 22,000 square meters (8,494 sq mi) spreading across eastern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan). According to Viktor Ivanov, the head of the Federal Drug Control Service, this threat presents a huge challenge to Uzbekistan. “The key to this problem is the Fergana Valley, where the borders of three countries join – Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan,” Ivanov told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday. “It is the Fergana Valley that Afghan heroin is smuggled through most intensely. Suppliers are concentrated in this region. There is a tough competition among them, which turns into armed clashes.””