Afghanistan

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)

Afghanistan counter-narcotics tribunal convicts nearly all defendants

Posted on June 21st, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

The US-funded Counter-Narcotics Justice Center (CNJC) in Kabul handles all of Afghanistan's large-scale drug cases—anyone arrested with more than two kilograms of heroin, 10 kilograms of opium, or 50 kilograms of hashish. It has sent hundreds to the city's notoriously harsh Pul-e Charkhi prison, and records show that nearly 98% of defendants are convicted. The conviction rate for drug offenses in the US judicial system is also very high, at 93% for federal cases in 2006—but that is largely due to plea bargains, and the ability of prosecutors to drop cases and judges to grant reduced sentences. In the CNJC there is virtually no leeway for prosecutors to drop cases that are too small or poorly evidenced. Defense attorneys say the high conviction rate means that just about every suspect who arrives at the court ends up in prison for a long time. (Joshua Hersh for Huffington Post, June 10)

Afghan opium production soars

Posted on January 13th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

opiatesA new survey by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicates that the value of opium in Afghanistan soared by 133% in 2011 over the previous year, netting farmers $1.4 billion. A blight last year wiped out much of the poppy yield, driving up prices. Yields have now returned to pre-blight levels—a 61% increase, from 3,600 tons in 2010 to 5,800 tons last year. But prices remain high, and UNODC says a simultaneous drop in the price of wheat contributed to the increase in poppy cultivation. Gross income from opium in 2011 was 11 times higher than that earned from wheat—the biggest difference in income since 2003. Afghanistan currently supplies an estimated 90% of the world's opium, with the largest areas of poppy cultivation in the country's restive south. (VOA, Jan. 13)

White House expands drug watch list to include all Central America

Posted on September 17th, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

President Barack Obama has included El Salvador and Belize on the list of 22 countries ranked as "Major Illicit Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2012"—for the first time placing all seven Central American nations on the annual list that identifies countries that "significantly affect the United States" through their role in the drug trade.

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