STRATEGIC ANALYSIS

Balochistan: On The International Drugs Superhighway

Sandhya Jain is Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. The current Essay is part of her ongoing research on Balochistan province of Pakistan. The views expressed are personal.
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  • September 2018
    Volume: 
    42
    Issue: 
    5
    Strategic Essay

    Pakistan’s Balochistan province, which shares borders with Iran and Afghanistan, has quietly functioned as one of the main arteries through which Afghanistan’s massive opium crop reaches the outer world. Six of the nine major drug trafficking routes from Afghanistan transit through Balochistan en route to Iran, Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Afghanistan’s opium production peaked at 9,000 tons in 2017, on account of the country’s rampant instability and lack of viable options for families to sustain themselves. Local ethnic groups have a vested interest in this lucrative trade, which is inextricably tied up with the separate political crises in Afghanistan and Balochistan. As of now, the problem seems intractable.

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