Afghanistan

Pakistan: Taliban attack tribal 'hashish festival'

Posted on April 15th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

PakistanNearly 108 tribesmen from Pakistan's remote northwestern borderlands were abducted by presumed Taliban militants April 12 from a mela (festival) where local hashish merchants were displaying and sampling their wares. Most were liberated the following day, but 15 men belonging to the Qamber Khel tribe are still being held. The mela was taking place at Haider Kandao, a village that straddles the tribal agencies of Khyber, Orakzai and Central Kurram in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, near the border with Afghanistan. Opium and cattle were also being exchanged at the meeting when it was stormed by gunmen from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). A large cache of hashish and opium was seized by the militants along with most of the men in attendance. Elders from Orakzai and Khyber agencies formed a jirga (tribal assembly) to search for the abducted men, and may have helped to negotiate their release. Those still in captivity may be identified by the TTP as major cannabis or opium growers or dealers.

Persian Gulf militarized —by drug war

Posted on December 9th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

Middle EastThe past year has seen a spate of dangerous brinkmanship in the Persian Gulf, with Iran and US naval forces along with those of the Gulf's oil-rich Arab mini-states playing chicken over the strategic choke-point of the Strait of Hormuz. But in addition to this show-down over a global oil outlet, the Gulf has seen escalating militarization in the guise of narcotics enforcement. Bahrain's Gulf Daily News on Nov. 26 ran a story boasting of the exploits of a 29-nation Combined Maritime Forces group, based at the petro-kingdom's sprawling US Navy base and commanded by Capt. Robert Slaven of the Royal Australian Navy. While it claims to have "considerably reduced the number of terrorist attacks in the region" over the past decade, it's most concrete gains are hashish and heroin seizures.

Afghan opium production hits new record high

Posted on November 17th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

AfghanistanThe latest Afghanistan Opium Survey (PDF), released Nov. 13 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), finds that the country produced record levels of poppy in 2013. Total production reached 5,500 tons—up by nearly 50% over last year's figure of 3,700. Cultivation amounted to 209,000 hectares (516,000 acres)—a 36% increase over last year. The previous record was 193,000 hectares (477,000 acres) in 2007. And prices dropped by 12%—clearly due to boosted production. Eradication efforts fell by 24%, and the seizure rate lagged behind that of other opium-producing countries.

Saudi hashish seizures: Taliban blowback?

Posted on September 13th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Middle EastThe arch-puritanical rulers of Saudi Arabia can't be happy about this. A Saudi border patrol ship intercepted a boat loaded with a half-ton of hashish bound for the kingdom's shores on the Persian Gulf Sept. 6—after an exchange of fire with the crew, in which two of the smugglers were shot, one fatally. The three surviving traffickers, identified as Iranian, were taken into custody, along with 552 kilograms of hashish. (Saudi Gazette, Sept. 11; Arab News, Sept. 8)

Afghanistan: tensions with Iran over opium smuggling routes

Posted on September 2nd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

AfghanistanThe Strategy Page reports that on Aug. 23 an anti-Iran demonstration was held in the provincial capital of western Afghanistan's Herat province. Local Afghans accused Iranian diplomats based at the local consulate of bribing officials, and operating as a "criminal gang." Somebody is certainly bribing Afghan police and border officials in the province bordering Iran; Iranian security forces have seized 214 tons of opium and heroin at the Afghan border in the last five months, and made hundreds of arrests. A western opium route linking Afghanistan to global markets through Iran appears to be opening, adding to the traditional southern route through the Khyber Pass to Pakistan and northern route through Central Asia to Russia.

Blood Ganja

The most enlightened cannabis connoisseurs—those who still have a link back to the values that defined the hippie culture—tend to be conscious consumers when it comes to food or computers or whatnot. They may buy organic tomatoes, boycott Taco Bell to support exploited farm workers in Florida, and petition Apple about the brutal conditions in their Chinese assembly plants. But do they pay as much attention to the source of their preferred smoking herb? 

Is there blood on your ganja?

Afghanistan: Reaper drones in fruitless fight against opium

Posted on September 3rd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

opiatesThe UK's Royal Air Force on Aug. 22 boasted that its Reaper drones helped uncover a stash of heroin with an estimated street value of over £10 million. The Reapers, remotely piloted by members of the RAF's 39 Squadron, tracked two vehicles after determining that they were likely to contain the hidden compartments typically used by drug traffickers. One vehicle was low on its suspension, while the rear of an accompanying flatbed truck appeared too shallow, suggesting a hidden storage area. A raid on the two vehicles by Afghan National Security Forces and the US Marine Corps led to the seizure of 1,208 kilograms of dry opium and 59 kilograms of processed heroin. (Defence Management, Aug. 22)

Central Asia opium wars escalate

Posted on August 2nd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

opiatesTajikistan sealed its border with Afghanistan this week, after clashes with armed rebels left 48 dead. Security forces are now searching for Tolib Ayombekov, a former rebel who became a commander of the border guard after a 1997 peace deal and is now believed to have taken up arms again. Ayombekov has been a fugitive since he refused to show up for questioning about the July 21 murder of a local security official in southern Badakhshan province, or to turn over men under his command suspected in the slaying. A conflict over control of the cross-border traffic in Afghan opium is said to be behind the conflict. (IWPR, July 31; DPA, July 30; Registan, July 27; AP, July 25)

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