The latest World Drug Report, released on Thursday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, reiterates the important role drugs play in funding organised crime and stresses the link between drugs and terror. The report, however, rues that information about how drugs fund terror networks is “patchy” at best.
“It is well established that there are terrorists and non-state armed groups profiting from the drug trade — by some estimates, up to 85 per cent of opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is in territory under influence of the Taliban. However, evidence on the organised crime-terrorism nexus remains patchy at best. Moreover, these links are not static. Relations between organised crime and terrorists groups are always evolving, much like drug markets themselves,” the report says.
It refers to media reports to talk about “claims” that the Islamic State and other armed groups in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic produce and consume “captagon” tablets — typically amphetamine mixed with caffeine. The group operates in an area likely to be a manufacturing hub, according to seizure data, but no conclusive evidence has emerged as other groups also operate in the same area, the report says.
Boko Haram has reportedly helped drug traffickers smuggle heroin and cocaine across West Africa, says the report.Some evidence, it says, suggests that Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb has been involved in cannabis and cocaine trafficking, or protecting traffickers, “though the group’s overall income from the drug sector appears to have been rather modest”.
The report estimated that in 2015 about a quarter of a billion people used drugs.