Afghanistan has long been infamous for its opium poppies, but law enforcement agencies across the world are warning of a new boom in the Afghan drug trade fueled by methamphetamines.
Turkey’s TRT World reported Wednesday the meth boom in Afghanistan is driven by falling opium prices, a crackdown in Iran that drove many Afghan meth cooks to return home, and the discovery that meth precursor chemicals can be extracted from ephedra, a plant that grows in the central highlands.
Drug trafficking from Afghanistan was recognized by U.S. military planners as a major strategic threat at the beginning of American military involvement after the September 11, 2001, jihadist attacks. Drugs are a huge source of income for the Taliban, to the tune of over $200 million a year, so poppy fields and opium labs were targeted by U.S. airstrikes in an operation called “Iron Tempest.”
The U.S. spent some $9 billion trying to