Significant rise in Afghanistan’s methamphetamine trade: UN 

Crystal methamphetamineCollected

According to a United Nations report, despite the Taliban's claims to curb heroin trafficking, methamphetamine trafficking in and around Afghanistan has seen a significant surge in recent years, reported Khaama Press.  
The United Nations report was released on Sunday.  
Ghada Waly, the executive director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), noted that the rise in methamphetamine trafficking suggests a significant shift in the illicit drug market.  
“The surge in methamphetamine trafficking in Afghanistan and the region suggests a significant shift in the illicit drug market and demands our immediate attention,” he said.  

The methamphetamine seizures in and around Afghanistan have increased 12 times between 2016 and 2021.  
Furthermore, from 2019 to 2022, countries like Iran and Pakistan observed a notable uptick in methamphetamine seizures, hinting at a regional issue. 
Although, the Taliban banned poppy cultivation and narcotics production in April last year, according to the UNODC report, methamphetamine trafficking has risen since the ban, according to Khaama Press.  
Reportedly, methamphetamine has been suspected to have originated in Afghanistan and has been seized in far-flung places like France and Australia. 

According to UNODC, suspicious methamphetamine production in Afghanistan primarily centres around a plant known as “ephedra,” which has experienced rapid growth and contains ephedrine used in drug manufacturing, reported Khaama Press.  
Ephedra is a self-growing plant readily available in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan. 

Moreover, the UNODC highlighted that the common cold medicines and industrial chemicals are more efficient and cost-effective for producing methamphetamine which makes it a more significant threat.  
Meanwhile, earlier this year, the Taliban leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada issued a decree which prohibited the cultivation, production, use and trafficking of narcotics and psychotropic substances, according to Khaama Press.