According to the United Nations Afghanistan in 2009, produced a total quantity of opium of 6,900 metric tons, accounting for 90 per cent of global supply. Afghan heroin feeds a global market worth some $55 billion annually, and most of the profits of the trade are made outside Afghanistan. Afghanistan and its neighbors are affected by trafficking as the drugs are moved to their key destination markets of Western Europe and the Russian Federation. About a third of the heroin produced in Afghanistan is transported to Europe via the Balkan route, while a quarter is trafficked north to Central Asia and the Russian Federation along the northern route. Afghan heroin is also increasingly meeting a rapidly growing share of Asian demand. According to the United Nations Approximately 15-20 metric tons are estimated to be trafficked to China, while a further 35 metric tons are trafficked to other South and South-East Asian countries. Some 35 metric tons are thought to be shipped to Africa, while the remainder supplies markets in other parts of Asia, North America and Oceania.
International Policy that is currently addressing this threat are The Paris Pact Initiative also coded as (PPI) represents a collective initiative by the international community to tackle the threat posed by the illicit production of opium in Afghanistan.
The Triangular Initiative or (TI) was established in direct response to the Paris Pact Expert Round Table recommendations, which called for greater cooperation in the field of counter-narcotics. The Triangular Initiative aims to enhance cross-border cooperation in the field of counter-narcotics enforcement among Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. This is a unique collective security initiative between non-western states. This significant because all three have little to no central law enforcement apparatuses or judicial system to address this issue outside of military bodies.. yet they have found a way to tackle this issue with local tribal, militia, and “warlord” bodies that have shown a willingness to work both with their governments and the international community.
In addition to the Paris Pact Initiatives, the Rainbow Strategy or (RS) is an umbrella framework to facilitate the implementation of priority actions identified at the Paris Pact Expert Round Tables. This strategy consists of several operational plans. Each plan addresses key targets, allowing for constructive engagement with prime regional actors, facilitating and supplementing interventions from national governments and other Paris Pact partners.
The most efficient and effective operation can only be singled out as the Central Asian Regional and Information Coordination Centre or (CARICC), Which aims to facilitate information and intelligence exchange and analysis, and to assist in the coordination of operational activities of the various law enforcement agencies in the region including police, drug control agencies, customs, border guards and special services and thereby improve effectiveness in countering drug trafficking.
The US and EU Roles in a Long-term Solution:
The United States and European Union must take a multidimensional approach not pursuing discrete security, trade, or human rights policies but a foreign policy, which combines all of these integral components. At the same time, the U.S. cannot divorce its Central Asia policy from its broader regional policies in Europe and Asia, or from its global strategies. The United States has suffered greatly in Central Asia because of a widespread perception that it cannot pursue more than one interest at a time.
Some argue that Washington cares only about political development, accusing it of backing, even staging, “colored revolutions.” Others believe that the U.S. cares only about military basing and logistics, accusing Washington of prioritizing the war in Afghanistan above every other objective. This latter perception, in particular, has been exacerbated by the frequency of visits by the commander of U.S. Central Command while other U.S. visitors of similar stature are so rare. Meanwhile, there are, undeniably, tangible links between U.S. interests in Central Asia and its surrounding regions.
Inconsistent linkages and precarious balancing with other policy agendas highlights the need for a much more coordinated execution of strategy within the U.S. government. The first decade of the twenty-first century saw China, Russia, and the United States all experiencing renewed interest in Central Asia, for different reasons and in pursuit of different objectives. The United States relies heavily on transportation rights and logistical support from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan for its ongoing efforts in Afghanistan. Russia has largely recovered from the Soviet collapse and sought to reassert itself in the region. The creation of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has been a theater in which Russia has recast itself as a leader among nations, as the organization is based on the NATO model. China's interests have been largely economic, as it has invested heavily in the development of the Central Asian nations without demanding political reforms in return, as the United States often does. The SCO, another twenty-first century organization, has been a tool for China's regional influence. Not to be overlooked are the exploits of the local leaders themselves, as they have often skillfully played the great powers off of one another to gain special concessions. Old school political maneuvering in international relations is not a thing of the past, as this compelling case study demonstrates, and oftentimes the remotest parts of the world can be theaters political and ideological contests with high stakes.