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Trafficking Of Drugs Essay

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Introduction

            Central Asia is one of the regions that international groups are focusing on. Aside form the challenges of establishing its independence it still faces today, it also has to deal with the internal struggles of restructuring social infrastructures. The Central Asian region’s undeniable value is its strategic geographic position between Asia and Europe (Esfandiari, 2004). The stability of Central Asia is seen as a key factor than can ease tension in the region, enhance trade and stabilize the political structure.

The prevalence of the illegal drug industry is considered as one of the major deterrents for stabilization in the region (Cornell, 2006). The elimination of illegal drugs is a global concern. The United Nations (UN) is targeting to control the international trade of illegal drugs by 2008 (UN General Assembly, 1998). The prevalence of the illegal drug trade industry is seen as not just an issue of crime prevention but also as a geographical, social and political issue that affects the stability of nations and the security of the international community.

            Central Asia has a long history of trans-border relations. The region ahs been defined more by its political versus geographic delineations. This has contributed to the richness of the region in terms of culture and relations. However, this also reflects that the security of borders is not a historical aptitude for the region and current border problems maybe a consequence of this historical predicament

            The chief producers of opium and opium-derivates drugs in Asia is the “Golden Triangle” in South East Asia consisting of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand and the “Golden Crescent” consisting of Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Because of the establishment of Afghanistan as the primary producer of opium in the world and the consequent control of the trade in the Golden Triangle, the Golden Crescent has become the region of greater concern (Saidazimova, 2005).

Another critical factor in the demand for better control of the drug trade in Central Asia is because of the indication from studies that bulk of the drugs in Europe is being sourced from the region. The concern for controlling the illegal drug trade however has a more important motivation for the countries in the region. Researches conducted by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have indicated the link of the drug trade to terrorism and crime (UNODC, 2006a). The proliferation of drugs and related crime has significantly affected the economy and the stability of the region, severely detrimental to efforts in building the region as a major business hub for Asia and Europe.

Central Asian Drug Trade

            Alexander von Humboldt was the first to refer to the region as Central Asia. As seen in Figure 2, the concept what makes up the region has changed together with the current powers in the region. The region for the most part of the century was under Soviet Rule. Borders were redefined after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990’s and succeeding wars and conflicts in the region (“Afghanistan”, 2006)

            The modern concept of the geographic region includes Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Western China, Northeast Iran, Afghanistan and Western Pakistan. The region has suffered inveterate incidents of civil violence from ethnic and militant groups (Olcott & Udalova, 2000). After the September 11th bombings, the US invasion of Afghanistan put the region into the limelight.

            In the course of this global scrutiny, the international community has realized the key role that the region plays in the establishment of stability and security in the region and the Middle East. Another issue that became a highlight is the increasing significance of the region in the opium and heroin drug trade (United Nations Information Service [UNIS], 2005). The problem of drug trafficking in the region developed its current structure after the Cold War. One of the key factors that is an urgent concern in the region is border management and security. The lack of economic opportunities is also an underlying factor in the pervasiveness of illegal drug production and distribution (Cornell, 2006).

The growing presence of crime groups is also capitalizing on the illegal drug trade to finance its operations. The region has seen a direct correlation of the trade with cross-border crime, trafficking or arms and people, money laundering and terrorism. Swanstrom (2001) points outs that the concern in the region is not only in its role a major producer but the greater concern should be focused in its role as a transit point. He estimates that the region will not be able to develop unless it first stops being the preferred channel of transporting drugs.

The region is home to a rich ethnic history. The region which is the key element of the Eurasian continent represents a marriage of cultures of the East and West. Ethnic groups like Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, British and the Soviets. The regions of Central Asia, particularly the Soviet areas are the ones that most industrialized and developed infrastructure. However these regions have also experiences a high degree of cultural repression. This has established a psychology distrust of government in valuing local leaderships more (“Central Asia”, 2006).

Afghanistan

            Afghanistan serves as the gateway to Asia and the Middle East. It has been a focal point for trade dating back to the beginnings of caramel caravans and the Silk Road. As a nation, it was established by Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1747 and was part of the United Kingdom’s territories until the early 20th century. The conclusion of the Anglo-Afghan war in 1919 restored the nation’s independence. The country figured in the international once more when it was invaded by Russia in 1979. After the withdrawal of Russia in the 1990’s, the Taliban, a fundamentalist Muslim group that traces its origins in Iran and Pakistan took control of the country.

The Taliban controlled 90% of the country while the remaining 10% was under the control of resistance forces led by Ahmad Shah Massoud. Massoud was assassinated in September 9, 2001 two days before the bombing of the World Trade Center in the United States. Some believe that Osama Bin Laden, leader of the extremist Al Qaeda ordered his assassination as a strategy in the event that the US partner with the Afghan resistance forces against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The US led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 in pursuit of Bin Laden, Al Qaeda has deposed the Taliban and has supported the Presidency of Hamid Karzai. The country today is still hosting the NATO troops authorized in December 2001 by the UN’s Security Council as part of an effort to establish the authority and leadership of the new Afghan government (“Afghanistan”, 2006).

            In Figure 5, it is shown that Afghanistan today is the undeniable leader the opium and heroin market. This, together with its strategic geographic position in the region makes it the keystone in the drug trade in Central Asia (UN Security Council, 2003). It is estimated that the country now supplies 75% of the world wide market, one third of which ends up in Europe.

There has been success in the areas of cultivation but the production from the products has not diminished proportionately (McDermott, 2006). According to Lubin (2001), the farming of opium is remaining a staple in rural agricultural because of the lack of economic opportunities for farmers. The presence of criminal networks in Afghanistan, like the rest of the other countries in the region, is discouraging foreign investment (Swanstrom, 2003). The criminal groups are also being credited with interfering with the government, inciting insurgency and encouraging corruption.

            The UN has sponsored programs to address the issues that are escalating the drug trade in the country. The primary objective is to decrease production through the combination of effective regulation and providing livelihood for farmers in the country. Through the Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UN ODCCP), programs are also trying to place criminal groups based in the country, the region and the Golden Triangle. Consequently, the channels that are linked to Afghanistan are also become the target of international police programs (Lubin, 2001)

Kyrgyzstan

            Kyrgyzstan traces its origins to a mix of Kipchak and Mongol ancestry that settled in Russia’s Tuva region approximately in the 10th century. When the Mongol empire took possession of the territory of the Kyrgyz people, they opted to move southward seeking refuge from the Mongol Hordes. It was in the 1400’s that the Kyrgyz emerged as a group and was incorporated into the Russian territories making up its Empire. The Russian takeover was meant with significant resistance and fractioned the Kyrgyz people to Afghanistan, the Pamir region and China. The Kara-Kyrgyz Autonomous Oblast was founded in 1919 and in December 5, 1936, it was formally accepted as a republic of the Soviet Union.

Tension in the Osh Oblast between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in 1990 marked the beginning of a series of violent confrontations that lasted from June to August of the year. Order was restored due to significant reforms and a new leadership in the government. It was also at this time that the country joined Commonwealth of Independent States which was made up of the Central Asian Republics. Before the end of 1990, the Supreme Soviet formally changed the name of the state to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan which in 1993 became the Kyrgyz Republic.

More recent developments in the country include the Tulip Revolution in March 2005 that forced the resignation of Askar Akayev and installed Kurmanbek Bakiyev as President and Minister Feliks Kulov as Prime Minister. The country has yet been able to stabilize politics in the country. This has stunted growth in the country and at the same time has encouraged crime and militant and terrorist groups. There is still significant inter-ethnic tension, historically a perennial concern for the nation, affecting civil order and compromising security and efficiency of government (“Kyrgyzstan”, 2006).

            Kyrgyzstan’s involvement in the drug trade in Central Asia is not in cultivation or production. The role of the country in the drug trade lies in its strategic viability to transport drugs to Europe from the major produces such as Afghanistan. Turkmenistan and Tajikistan have historically been more involved in the transport of drugs form Central Asia as well as those from South East Asia.

However, as drug traffickers expand their operations in the region, Kyrgyzstan along with Kazakhstan, is becoming another key channel for the drug trade (“Kyrgyzstan Confronted by Narcotics Nightmare As Drug Trade Booms”, 2006). As seen in Table 1, opiate seizures in the country remain relatively low and stable compared with its neighbors. This indicates that though there are significant amounts at any given time of opiates and its derivatives in Kyrgyzstan (UNODC, 2006b), there are very few seizures. This may be an indication that its presence is more transitory.

            Similar with the situation of farmers in Afghanistan, one of the reasons for the prevalence of the trade is lack of economic opportunity. More significantly in Kyrgyzstan rather than in Afghanistan is the security of its borders. The existing civil unrest in the country has limited the resources to monitor the security of its borders, easing the transportation of not only drugs but also arms and people (Burke, 2001). As a country that only post a per capita income of $2,900, among the lowest in the world, drug trafficking provides an irresistible lure to the impoverished citizens (Swanstrom, 2001).

            The country has been one of the first to establish anti-narcotics and supporting trafficking laws. For a long time, the laws acted more as prevention rather than actual part of policing efforts. Traffickers previously concentrated on Turkmenistan and Tajikistan in transporting drugs. However, the industry has grown in the region so much that crime organizations are trying to expand the channels available to them (Marat, 2006).

Saidazimova (2005) has pointed out that the existing drugs in the region are not just the one produced there but is also made up of drugs from the Golden Triangle. Following the international operations of a transnational corporation, dealers are competing not just for the availability but also the control of the channels of distribution. Thus, many of the drug syndicates are trying to develop new transport systems and indications from studies conducted by the UN and EU are showing that Kyrgyzstan is becoming a popular option for them (Swanstrom, 2001)

Impact of the Drug Trade

            In theory, crime is primarily a concern for the police. However, because of the desire of organized crime to create the conditions that suit them, they try to undermine government, security and civil society. If the state is secure and has the necessary infrastructure for administration or governance, then it can mange and deter the machinations of organized crime.

In the case of Central Asian countries, this is not a capability that is readily available. The presence of organized crime that is responsible for the illegal drug trade has undermined the security, state institutions, encouraged the corruption, political instability and violence, and has exacerbated relations among the countries in the region (Cornell, 2006).

Security

The drug trade is profiting from the scarce resources allotted for the administration of the countries’ borders. Because of the lack or border patrols, the transport of the drugs has been made easier for the traffickers. Land-based transport has been traditionally avoided by traffickers because it was considered riskier than air or sea freight (Esfandiari, 2004). It has increased in viability that even the Golden Triangle is choosing Central Asia to traffic their drugs instead of following the unwritten historical territorial jurisdiction of their operations (Saidazimova, 2005). Better drug control programs against the Golden Triangle have been effective in limiting transportation of drugs produced in the region. At the same time, the crackdown on production has been effective in diminishing the industry in the region (see Figure 5).

Security in the areas of the country were the drug trade has its strongholds has severely compromised state and civil security. Reports in Afghanistan of syndicates attacking security convoys, both those of the Afghan government and UN forces are prevalent (“Drug Industry Threatens to Derail Afghanistan’s State Building”, 2006). At first, the attacks were attributed to Taliban forces but recent information from investigations in the affected areas reveal that a significant number of the forces were either a combination of Taliban and drug syndicates or just the syndicates themselves (Nazemroaya, 2006).

In the case of Kyrgyztan, prior to the Tulip Revolution, there have been reports in the national papers that crime syndicates were taking control of rural areas in the country amidst the political disorder in the country’s capitals (“Kyrgyztan”, 2006). The country is very vulnerable in its stage today: investor confidence and industries has to be built up significantly. Analysts believe that unless the country can be able to address its security issues, very little progress can be achieved in this objective (Esfandiari, 2004). This is one of the motivation of drug syndicates to provoke crime so that legitimate business do not develop in competitor with their enterprise.

State Institutions        

The government is dealing with the trade not just as its protagonist but also internally. In both Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, there has been some concern regarding the link of government officials to the drug trade. The weak presence of government in remote regions is also becoming an advantage for the drug syndicates.

According to Olcott and Udalova (2000), in some areas, the traffickers are even presenting themselves as the legitimate government. Some do not even bother with subterfuge and simply overpower the locals for their operations. More alarming is that some local even begin supporting these groups because they seemingly provide livelihood to them while at the same time become more real to them than the legitimate government so far away in their respective nations’ capitals (UNIS, 2005).

In Afghanistan, the Taliban has long been linked to the syndicates. This implies that even if the Taliban were not participating in terrorist activities, its role as a government institution is marred by its link to the drug trade. Some have even implied that the profit from the opium trade during the Taliban occupation, estimated to have ranged between US$ 10 million to US$ 75 million, was one of the core partnerships the organization has with the Al Qaeda (Lubin, 2001).

In Kyrgyztan, there have also been claims of the link of some government officials to the Russian mafia concerned with the drug trade. The weakness of state institutions has been credited with the expansion of the drug trade channel linking Tajikistan, southern Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia with the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang and Yunnan (Swanström, 2003).

Corruption     

Related to the link of government officials directly or indirectly to the drug trade is the problem of corruption. Corruption can be in the form asking favors in the form of leniency as payback for support to the official. Another form of corruption is the utilization of proceeds from the trade as protection and incentive (UNODC, 2006a). One of the deterrents in addressing the drug trafficking problem is the execution of the intervention programs.

The UN’s Security Council has pointed out that in order to be able to effectively to deal with the problem, government has to be able to show its integrity and authority. If government efforts are perceived as corruptible then instead of discouraging the drug traffickers, it may even be an encouragement for them. The issue does not even require that a government is resolutely corrupt, the mere state of being more corrupt than another nation, regardless of actual prevalence, can significantly increase a country’s preference to the drug trade.

The development of the drug trade in Kyrgyztan has been associated with the corrupt Russian military officers who were based in Tajikistan. Both the United Nations and the European Union cite them to have developed the cultivation in the country as well as established the channels of transportation (Maitra, 2005). None of these claims have been admitted to by the Russian military or have been supported by any study.

Regardless of whether the claims are true or not, this only reflects the perception of corruption as linked with the prevalence of the drug trade in the country. According to studies conducted by the UN, the decline of the routes in Iran because due to more effective programs against corruption on its borders has increased the attractiveness of Afghani routes (UNODC, 1999). This, like with the developments in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, have established a route that corruption has encouraged not only for drugs but also for all other forms of contraband.

Political Instability and Violence

Drug traffickers incite and practice violence to coerce people into the trade. This is a strategy to protect their activities as well as to accumulate power. Recent studied have indicated that drug trafficking is the preferred cash cow of most criminal organizations an is only to be expected that they are more than willing to engage in violence to protect it (Maitra, 2005).

Tamara Makarenko of the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland’s Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence says that competition among the criminal networks in the trade is also a contributor to the level of violence (Esfandiari, 2005). This level of violence has severely affected the political stability: warlords are taking over government positions; there has been censorship of the real prevalence of drugs and the control of resources (UN Security Council, 2003).

Makarenko has alluded that the sheer magnitude of the drug trade has effectively affected all levels of the political system, from the citizenry to the states themselves:

“The trade itself is so large in Central Asia now and there are so many different types of people and groups involved, that the strategy that has to be considered is one that involves all different levels … To tackling this as a political problem and to say there is no room to compromise with warlords… ” (Esfandiari, 2005).

He further alludes to the situation in Afghanistan as one that needs political will to reach grassroots of the society since the country’s main concern is production and cultivation (Esfandiari, 2005). Another spectrum that has to be considered is that unless the region is able to become more politically stable and control violence, then little progress in achieving peace and prosperity can be achived which in turn can contribute to further political instability and violence. EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten told newly independent Central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan “…are of strategic importance to Europe and EU enlargement will allow us to strengthen political and economic ties with the region, while making clear that a sustainable and fruitful relationship requires tangible steps to consolidate civil rights and the rule of law”. (Maitra, 2005).

Inter-Regional Relations

As international pressure to control the drug trade increases, countries are becoming pressured to control trafficking in exchange for funding from relief organizations. This has prompted the development of tension in the region as to whose country is not being effective in solving the drug trade in its borders. Historically, the region has already had significant border issues and the drug trade which relies on trans-border operations is highlighting this conflict (“Threat Posed from the Convergence of Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking, and Terrorism”, 2000). The link or organized crime groups to terrorism are also increasing the inter-regional pressure. With the international crackdown on terrorism, nations fear that they will become identified with terrorists or that they become caught in the firing line of the pursuit against them.

An example for this kind of development was shown when the Taliban came into power in Afghanistan in 1996. In the cause of transporting the opium produced in Afghanistan, traffickers took virtual control of the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. In defense of the problem of drug trafficking in Kyrgyztan, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev is pointing out that the country has a low cultivation and production level of opium and that it is being victimized the ineffectivity of the drug programs of its neighbors (Swanstrom, 2001).

In 2003, the Central Asian region expressed its concern when US troops allied with known Afghan warlords in pursuing Taliban cells. The concern for is rooted from the identification of these warlords as drug traffickers. (Maitra, 2005). This move has raised concerns that Afghanistan’s drug lords, who control most of the drug trades in the region, are being given concessions for their support to US Forces. The development has contributed to the perception that regional cooperation is not feasible and that nations have to guard their backs against each other in the war against the drug trade.

 The Future of the Drug Trade

            The UN’s goals of globally eradicating drugs are not anymore an achievable target. One weakness of the programs is that it focused on the trade itself. The focus was in policing the trade, apprehending traffickers and eliminating the channels of trade (Nazemroaya, 2006). Though the efforts have been earnest, it failed to address the nature of the drug problem in Central Asia. Programs that were designed were more like programs to eliminate the use of drugs. In Central Asia, only 10% of the drugs produced are consumed locally, it more profitable to transport it to Europe and Russia (Kyrgyz State Commission on Drug Control, 1999).

            The United Nations, European Union and Central Asian countries have reviewed their programs to address the roots of the drug problem in the region. The personalized programs in Central Asia is trying to alleviate the hold of drug syndicates in rural area, particularly the massive cultivation of opium in Afghanistan and the developing role of Kyrgyzstan in the transport of opium produced in Afghanistan. Programs include the creation of economic opportunities in the problem areas, strengthening government in the areas and demilitarization of criminal groups (Olcott & Udalova, 2000).

Trends

            According to studies conducted by the UNODC, the prevalence of opiate drugs is relatively stable however; this trend is not being reflected in Central Asia. This implies that though the world trend is declining because of better control in key regions like the Golden Triangle, the Golden Crescent trade is still prospering if not benefiting by international drug control (UNODC, 1999).

            Before, the main means of measuring prevalence has been the seizure rates but the UN and the EU have now incorporated rehabilitation indicators to assess the pervasiveness of the drug abuse. To measure the reach how much of the drugs produced is being consumed by the market. From the survey of drugs users seeking rehabilitation from opiate use, it can be inferred that more people are gaining access to the products form Central Asia. As illustrated in Figure 6, the increase of those seeking opiate rehabilitation has increased except in Africa by as much as 32%. It is exhibiting the highest incidence in rehabilitation from 2000 to 2006 (UNODC, 2006a).

            The Border Management Programme in Central Asia (BOMCA) and the Central Asian Drug Action Programme (CADAP) are becoming the key action bodies addressing drug trafficking in the region. Their first part of the programs were concentrating on creating assessment reports on border management capacities, training for management and policing and the possible areas of cooperation not only within the region but also with the EU and the UN. (BOMCA, 2005). In 2004, the BOMCA and CADAP worked with legislation of laws and upgraded training programs for border patrol in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The programs were conducted in cooperation with EU border police officers and included strategic and computer technology training.

            Saidazimova (2005) points out that the region respond to this challenge independently as nations and as a region. The control of the Golden Triangle trade can provide insights to the strategies necessary for strategies. The approach should involve a global perspective but a local approach. The drug trade in Central Asia will continue to figure prominently in the EU’s concerns and is a strategic element in controlling drugs in Europe, particularly opiates. Analysts believe that most programs and actions that will be enforced will be by non-Central Asian interest groups like the EU and the UN because the region itself has limited resources to dent the trade activities.

Strategies

            The current action in addressing the drug trade today is taking a multi-faceted approach. The strategy seems to be combat the problems at all levels at the same time. The objective is to suffocate the drug trade and break linkages so that it becomes fragmented. This will address the viability of the trafficking and in turn will remove the profit from cultivation and production (UN Security Council, 2003).

            Consider the BOMCA-CADAP strategy. Their programs include “high-level advice and guidance in upgrading legislation, to delivering expertise in airport security, or the use of dogs to detect drugs”. This considers the importance of the political and executive will to implement control programs. Through these efforts that essential legislation and infrastructures are developed to address the situations. Without the needed legislation that is uniform in the region’s countries, there will not be a comprehensive deterioration of the trade.

Differential legislation may make one country become a haven for the traffickers when punishment is perceived to be more lenient. The establishment of the needed infrastructure to address the problem operationally is also seen as key factor. When border patrols don’t have the capability to pursue and apprehend traffickers, it makes the effort wasted. If the border patrols are outgunned or out-resourced by the traffickers, they are not only endangered but also can enhance the position of the traffickers as powers in the region (BOMCA, 2005).

            The EU’s participation in the fight has shifted from border control to the creation of programs addressing the economic and social factors underlying the drug trade. Studies have indicated that if programs are cventerd on border dontrol, traffickers only deveise new ways to transport the drugs. This additional risk has even the effect of jacking up prices and in turn makes the trade even more lucrative (Nazemroaya, 2006). The EU is also providing support to regional programs such as BOMCA-CADAP by providing technical training support as well. An effort by EU Member States led by Austria is providing funding and program development in the region (BOMCA, 2005).

            On the part of the UN, there are several of its branches that are providing the needed research and information for the development of the programs. Among these branches are the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UNIS and the UNODC. The UNDP is formulating the programs to address the economic and industrial development of rural areas in the region to attack the problem at the production level (UNODC, 1999). The programs are focusing on development of agriculture and the other legitimate industries.

One of the major developments to be undertaken in the next five years is the utilization of the same drug trade routes to make transport hubs to Europe for products from continental Asia. On the other hand the UNODC is conduting a regional and coutry survey of the actual prevalence of the opium trade. One of the first parts of their study included the grading of cultivation in the region (UNODC, 2006a). The nest level of the studiest they are to conduct will be grease toward the identification of specific criminal activites to the trade.

This is an effort to understand further the link of activities like terrorism and money laundering to drug trafficking in the region. The UNIS primary objectives for the next couple of year sis to provide information regarding the accomplishment of the 2008 UN General Assembly Special Session’s drug control objectives. The UNIS is providing important information to individual countries who can not afford to conduct the studies themselves while at the same time establishing correlation that can provide insights for the programs (UNIS, 2005)

Conclusion

            Significant increase in the global production and trading of opium and coca derived drugs were first taken note of in the 1970’s and eventually decreased in momentum by the 1990’s (Burnham & Burnham, 1997). The probability that the objectives set by the UN’s General Assembly for 2008 can be achieved based on current levels of illegal drug trafficking is unlikely.

We can take comfort that control of the trade is possible. In the first couple of years of the century, Afghanistan was able to bring down opium production due to enforcement of the Taliban (“Drug Industry Threatens to Derail Afghanistan’s State Building”, 2006). However, the means by which the Taliban was able to affect the development is not one that can be considered an option by the UN or other states: it enables violent persecution that in the course of its objectives victimized innocent farmers as well (Lubin, 2001).

            The drug trade and rafficking in the region as Svante E Cornell says is one that is the result of  “the complex evolution of organized crime as a security challenge in Eurasia” (p.29). The drug trade’s effect of developing shadow economies affords it opportunities to infiltrate legitimate institutions in the society and even take control of it. When this happens, the state becomes at the mercy of criminal elements whose central concern is profit.

In Kyrgyzstan, the effect of the drug trade has not just raised concerns against the prevalence of a crime but also has significantly affected the stability of the country. The Kyrgyz have had success in being able to achieve progress in crating the necessary policies mainly thorough its successful social activists but it has yet been able to successful stem the infiltration of drug organization in its economy (Burke, 2001). Though no specific data is available, local media has been vocal in its concerns and they seem to have a reason to be concerned (Cornell, 2006). According to initial information gather by studies conducted by the UNODC, there may be a factual basis to media fears expressed in Kyrgyzstan (UNODC, 1999).

Of all the nations in the region, Afghanistan poses the greatest challenge and the greatest potential of creating an impact against the world trade of drugs that is centered in the Central Asian Region.  If the cultivation of the opium is effectively reduced in Afghanistan the world supply of the material can be effectively reduced. The action must be decisive, otherwise, it only increase the status of drug traffickers in the region among the local people.

Makarenko believes that, “There is no room to compromise with known drug traders. There is no room to compromise with corrupt officials. We have to clean things up today because if we don’t, this becomes ingrained within society” (Esfandiari, 2005). Every effort has to be done from Afghanistan becoming a narco-state. This will not only deter the development of Afghanistan but also of the rest of the region not to mention the prevalence of opium in the rest of world (Cornell, 2006).

In conclusion, it is the prevalent and progressive feebleness of the states in Central Asia because of civil conflicts is the factor that has commenced the development of criminal activities in the region. The success of the drug organizations is primarily because of the lack of economic opportunities in the region where they are most prevalent. This another reason why framers become involved in the trade: the farming of opium poppies is more profitable than any other produce and in a country where all supplies are so scarce and overpriced, it has become the only means of survival.

Recommendations

Programs in the region should focus on increasing stability in the countries in the region. Focus should be given on Afghanistan because it is pivotal in controlling of the supply of opium as well as on Kyrgyzstan because it provides the chance to create a model for control. If the development of the trade in Kyrgyzstan is controlled in its beginning stages, it can provide fundamental elements to the proliferation of the trade.

Kyrgyzstan has the potential of creating the strategies needed because of a proactive civil social that has previously successful in bringing forth change in the society. There has been more vocalized concerning the infiltration of syndicates into the government and businesses. Regional programmers should capitalize on this unique opportunity to crate the effective agenda against the drug trade.

The pivotal factor in the battle against drug trafficking in the region and the rest of the world is the control of the production in Afghanistan. To be able to do this, government infrastructures have to established and enforced in rural areas of the country.

The UN’s various objectives to support the economic recovery of the country should be continued. Focus on developing communication in identified key areas is essential to create response units that can properly control the problem. The US action of partnering with warlords who have links with the drug trade should not be encouraged. Afghanistan is at a stage that it is trying to establish its authority and sovereignty and consorting with the elements that undermine this can severely deter progress in the country.

The ultimate solution to the problem can only be achieved by determined and definitive programs. Programs should reflect the urgency of the situation. Programs should be able to address all levels of the trade through creating preventive measures as well developmental elements like education, rehabilitation and cooperation. Unless the programs gain the support of civil society, then the program will not be able to achieve their full potential. Also, programs should take into consideration more than geopolitical elements into the proposed solutions. The region’s cultural history and experience have combined to create a society that is prone to factionalism but at the same time has a sense of cultural identity that is unique and beyond boundaries.

The international community must to take the concerns in the region as if it was their own. Central Asian states do not have the resources to tackle the problem themselves. However, this does not diminish the urgency of controlling the drug trade that amplifies crime, empowers illicit activities and terrorism and destabilizes the state. Insurgent, criminal and terrorist organizations will continue to engage in illicit drug activities because of the magnitude of the financial gains that can be sourced from it. Unless people are given alternatives for livelihood, cultivation will continue. Unless government and civil society work together in politically, socially and ethnically sensitive program, no real success can be achieved.

References

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Cornell, Svante E. (2006). The Narcotics Threat in Greater Central Asia: From Crime-Terror Nexus to State Infiltration?. China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly Volume 4, No. 1. Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program. pp. 37-67

Burke, Justin (2001). Drug trafficking getting more organized in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan Daily Digest. Retrieved on December 4, 2006 from http://www.eurasianet.net/resource/kyrgyzstan/hypermail/200107/0006.htm

Burnham, R.W. and Burnham, Helen (1997). United Nations World Surveys On Crime Trends And Criminal Justice Systems, 1970-1994: Restructured Five-Wave Data Washington, DC: U.S. Department Of Justice, National Institute Of Justice

Central Asia (2006). Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved on December 4, 2006 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Asia

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