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Critical analysis of strategies to counter Afghan opiate production, for the French Development Agency
January - June 2010

92% of the world’s opium is produced in Afghanistan. For some years now, the country has been at the centre of the production, transformation and commercialisation of opium and opiate derivatives. However, in the last decade, a series of policies and programmes has been implemented with the aim of reducing the production of drugs. How successful have these been? And what lessons can be learned from them?

The aim of this study is to analyse the different strategies which have been put in place in the last ten years to counter Afghan opiate production. These strategies have addressed the different stages of the cycle of production, commercialisation and use of opiate derivatives. They include awareness-raising, repression (eradication of crops, seizure, legal action against different categories of actor, etc.) and the implementation of alternative programmes (including agricultural programmes, but also more general rural development programmes).

The study will:

  • Outline the characteristics of the different approaches which have been adopted in the last decade as part of the National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS): objectives, actors involved and principle results;
  • Highlight the key factors (geographical, political, economic, etc.) which have contributed to the success or failure of these strategies via a literature review and interviews with Afghan and international experts;
  • Address the issue of inter-actor cooperation/coordination in view of this wide variety of approaches and strategies.

The study includes strategic and operational recommendations with the aim of contributing to the debate about policies and programmes.

This study was commissioned by the French Development Agency (AFD).