Economies dwarfed by drug trade

The San Jose Mercury News had an article by Mark McDonald on Sunday; Heroin Trade Booms in Afghanistan: New Wealth Helps Terrorists Rebuild, Threatens Neighbors
This is more of what we’ve already talked about — the heroin trade is really the only hope for significant economic activity in Afghanistan, but unfortunately, since it’s illegal, all the money goes to the criminal sector, including terrorists. But this article also talks about the neighbors:

At particular risk is Tajikistan, a desperately poor, predominantly Muslim nation of 7 million.

Tajikistan produces almost no opium or heroin of its own, but it has become a natural pathway for traffickers because of its 900-mile border with Afghanistan. …

Tajikistan, isolated and landlocked, has almost no industrial economy other than a state-controlled aluminum smelter.æ Foreign investment is minuscule; not a single American firm is operating in the country.

The national budget is barely $300 million a year, a pittance compared with the size of the drug economy.æ The heroin trade alone, Yuldashov said, is 10 times as big.

10 times as big as their entire national budget! That’s a recipe for disaster, and enforcement ain’t gonna help.
We’ve got to look toward new international drug policies.

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