AFGHAN OPIUM FUELS EUROPE SALES. Afganistan's drug lords now pump 4,000 tonnes of opium illegally out of the country every year that finally finds its way to Europe as refined heroin. These "effortless exports" are pushed through by gangs operating across the borders of Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Russia.
The illegal Afgan trade is valued at 2.7 billion dollars, plays a dominant role in the ecomony and touches upon perhaps one in ten Afghan lives.
Reporting from Garmser in Afganistan, Declan Walsh for The Guardian newspaper said that many smugglers don't even bother to hide their wealth any more. Deeply rooted in feudal tribal society, they live in fortified mansions and flaunt the jet set life-styles.
Most bothersome, however, are the allegations that governors, ministers and the presidet's brother, Walid Karzai, are said to be involved in the illegal drug trade. The report quotes an analyst to say that 17 of the 249 newly elected parliamentarians are drug smugglers.