Drugs and Afghanistan: Related websites and documents

19 January 2006

Useful web resources on Drugs and Afghanistan



News updates

  • AfghanNews.net Drug news
    Recent press reports on drugs in Afghanistan.
    Language: English.
  • Afgha.com
    Recent press reports on drugs in Afghanistan.
    Language: English.
  • Eurasianet.org
    EurasiaNet provides information and analysis about political, economic, environmental and social developments in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as in Russia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia.
    Language: English.
  • IWPR - Institute for War and Peace Reporting
    Afghan Programme: Local Journalism Recovery & Development This programme supports the recovery of the Afghan media by training journalists, syndicating articles on humanitarian recovery and democratisation to the local press, and supporting joint research and other projects with regional publications and training institutions.
    Language: English


  • Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
    Web Special on the threat of opium to Afghanistan and the region (Bitter-Sweet Har.vest: Afghanistan's New War). Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) is part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
    Language: English
  • Geopolitics of Illicit Drugs in Asia.
    Geopium.org is a website offering information and publications on the geopolitics of illicit drugs in Asia. Its objective is to broadcast geographic information by posting documentary resources useful for researchers in the humanities, and the social and political sciences. The main issues addressed on Geopium relate to the production, traffic and consumption of opiates (opium, morphine, heroin) in the ‘Golden Triangle’ (Burma, Laos, Thailand) and ‘Golden Crescent’ (Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan) areas.
    Language: French and English.
  • ReliefWeb - Afghanistan
    ReliefWeb is the global hub for time-critical humanitarian information on Complex Emergencies and Natural Disasters.
    Language: English.
  • British Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG)
    BAAG provides regular information on the political, economic and security situation in Afghanistan and is an effective network for international NGOs operating in Afghanistan. BAAG's own publications include the BAAG Monthly Review, and the Briefing Pack, a useful resource designed for newly recruited staff working for humanitarian agencies in Afghanistan.
    Language: English.
  • GTZ - Drugs and development in Afghanistan
    The GTZ is an international cooperation enterprise for sustainable development with worldwide operations. It provides viable, forward-looking solutions for political, economic, ecological and social development in a globalised world. GTZ mainly works for the German Federal Government.
    Language: German and English.
  • Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU)
    The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) is an independent research organisation whose mission is to conduct and facilitate action-oriented research and learning that informs and influences policy and practice. AREU also actively promotes a culture of research and learning by strengthening analytical capacity in Afghanistan and creating opportunities for analysis, thought and debate.
    Language: English.
  • The Senlis Council Afghanistan Initiatives
    The Senlis Council, established in 2002, is an international drug policy think tank which gathers expertise and facilitates new initiatives on global drug policy.
    Language: English.
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Afghanistan Country Office
    Afghanistan has been the centre of attention for the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) since it became clear that the country had gained the status of the world's largest source of opium. Since 1994, the Annual Opium Poppy Survey of UNDCP's Crop Monitoring Programme is the most reliable source for figures on poppy hectares and opium production potential. To understand the complexities of the Afghan opium economy, UNDCP's Strategic Study Series is indispensable. It has documented the expansion of poppy fields in Afghanistan and the reasons behind it; the role of opium as a source of credit and in livelihood strategies of small farmers and war refugees; the role of women in the opium economy and the rural dynamics behind the illicit trade.
    Language: English


NGO Documents

Governmental and Official Documents

UNODC Opium Surveys


Research Documents

  • Opium Trading Systems in Helmand and Ghor, Adam Pain, January 2006. Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU). [PDF document]
  • Alternative Livelihoods: Substance or Slogan?, David Mansfield and Adam Pain, October 2005. Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU). [PDF document]
  • Afghanistan: When Counternarcotics Undermines Counterterrorism, Vanda Felbab-Brown, The Washington Quarterly 28, no. 4 (Autumn 2005)
    Today’s counternarcotics chic contains the idea of a fundamental synergy among curbing the international drug trade, fighting the war on terrorism, and promoting democracy. In recent years, widespread attention to these links has introduced hip new terms such as narcoterrorism, narcoguerrilla, narcostate, and narcofundamentalism into the lexicon of U.S. officials, major international organizations, and the larger policy community. In Afghanistan, presumably consistent counterinsurgency, democratic stabilization, and counternarcotics measures have become the cornerstone of the international community’s policies. [PDF document]
  • Road to Ruin. Afghanistan’s Booming Opium Industry, Barnett R. Rubin, Center for International Cooperation (CIC - New York University) in cooperation with the Center for American Progress, October 2004
    The growing drug problem in Afghanistan is far more difficult to address than U.S. officials have acknowledged, as the opium economy is entrenched and pervasive in much of the country. International efforts at drug control have been insufficient thus far. U.S. cooperation with warlords and militia commanders tied to trafficking has sent the wrong signal about the U.S. commitment to combating narcotics. The international community has not provided adequate security and reconstruction assistance. And counter-narcotics efforts have focused too much on crop eradication. This paper examines the historical context of Afghanistan’s opium industry, its current nature, and the past missteps of the United States and the rest of the international community in addressing the narcotics threat. It also offers recommendations for a more effective counter-narcotics strategy. [PDF document]
  • Feasibility Study on Opium Licensing in Afghanistan
    The Senlis Council launched a study on the feasibility of licensing Afghan opium for the production of medicines such as morphine, with initial findings indicating that opium licensing could provide not only an effective tool to complement existing development initiatives in Afghanistan, but also a vital response to the global shortage in opiate-based medicines. The findings of Phase I were released on 26 September 2005, at The Kabul International Symposium.
  • Frontiers and wars: the opium economy in Afghanistan, Jonathan Goodhand from SOAS, London. Published in the Journal of Agrarian Change, April 2005.
    This article describes the development of the drug economy in Afghanistan and investigates the factors that led to its increase since the fall of the Taliban. The historic reasons for the cultivation of opium poppy are being analysed within the framework of state formation and the current dynamic behind the opium economy is highlighted. [PDF document]
  • The Afghan Opium Poppy Farmer: Far from Wealthy and Keen on Legal Options Michael Alexander, February 2002. [PDF document]
  • Economic Superiority of illicit Drug Production: Myth and Reality - Opium Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan David Mansfield, January 2002.
  • Alternative Development in Afghanistan: The Failure of Quid Pro Quo David Mansfield, January 2002.
  • Poppy Fields, Killing Fields and Druglords
    Chapter from the book Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, by John K. Cooley, Pluto Books, 2000.
  • The Political Economy of War and Peace in Afghanistan Barnett R. Rubin, June 1999
    The 20-year old Afghan conflict has created an open war economy, affecting Afghanistan and surrounding areas. Not only has Afghanistan become the world's largest opium producer and a center for arms dealing, but it supports a multi-billion dollar trade in goods smuggled from Dubai to Pakistan. This criminalized economy funds both the Taliban and their adversaries.
  • From Holy War to Opium War?
    A Case Study of the Opium Economy in North Eastern Afghanistan, Jonathan Goodhand, IDPM, University of Manchester, 1999

Press coverage