Taliban’s rising sway in Afghanistan might spike drug movement into India

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Express News Service

KOCHI: Repercussions of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s rising affect there are being felt internationally, even in Kerala. Indian businesses, particularly these concerned in anti-narcotics operations, are on alert as they concern that the Taliban’s development in Afghanistan would result in a spurt in smuggling of medicine into India and Kerala within the coming months.Sources within the customs division, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) stated the latest spike in seizures of highly-processed medication like heroin and cocaine throughout India, together with in Kerala, is as an indicator of the Taliban rising affect in Afghanistan.

They stated in all of the seizures, particularly of heroin from fishing boats and at airports in Kerala, it was discovered that Afghanistan was origin level of the medication. “Despite the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan for two decades, Taliban ensured that the cultivation of poppy (opium) stayed intact as it is its chief funding source. Afghanistan is the prime cultivator of illegal poppy in the world even though it has been a war zone for 20 years. While US troops destroyed several poppy fields when they captured the land, its illegal cultivation could not be controlled as this was being done in remote areas fully controlled by terrorist groups,” stated an NCB official.

The businesses stated the cultivation of poppy will rise in Afghanistan now. India is without doubt one of the first international locations the place the smuggled medication land after they’re processed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. To take care of medication trafficking, the businesses right here have enhanced their intelligence networks. “Earlier, porous borders in India’s north-western front which lies close to Pakistan was the drug smuggling route. Since surveillance was increased to prevent the sneaking in of drugs, smugglers are trying sea and air routes,” stated the NCB official. As per a UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report, poppy was cultivated in 2.24 lakh hectares of land in Afghanistan in 2020 in comparison with 1.63 lakh hectares in 2019. The potential manufacturing capability of poppy in Afghanistan is round 6,300 tonnes per 12 months. 

“There will be a spurt in narco-terrorism once Taliban gains control of Afghanistan following the complete pullout of foreign troops in the next few months. The situation is alarming as India’s internal security is likely to face challenges,” stated G Shreekumar Menon, former DG, National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics (NACEN). 

“Drugs trade contributes a majority to Taliban’s funding. If they gain power after the withdrawal of troops, there will be attempts to procure sophisticated weapons for which enormous funds will be required. Poppy cultivation will be hiked which ultimately will be sourced to countries like India. Funds from it will also be used for terrorists activities in Kashmir,” he stated. Menon stated the ocean route was most weak to medication trafficking and even drones might be used for cross-country motion of medicine. 

“It is impossible for agencies to check each and every fishing vessel that ventures into the sea daily. Our country has a vast coastline. And since drones are being used for terrorist activities, attempts to use them for drug trafficking cannot be ruled out. Security activities should be on alert following the developments in Afghanistan,” he stated.

A former NCB zonal director stated contemplating the variety of fishing vessels in Kerala, safety businesses needs to be on excessive alert. “The shipping route close to Kerala’s coastline has started to witness an increase in drugs trafficking. It is high time agencies deter smugglers from opening a gateway to bring drugs into the country. Fishing vessels that venture close to the coastlines of Iran and Pakistan should be checked as drugs are often loaded from there,” he stated.

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