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Critical analysis of strategies to counter Afghan opiate production
January - June 2010

In 2009, 92% of the world’s opium was produced in Afghanistan. For some years, the country has been at the centre of the production, transformation and commercialisation of opium and opiate derivatives. However, 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 could be learned from them?

The aim of this study was 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 aimed to:

  • 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 included strategic and operational recommendations with the aim of contributing to the debate about policies and programmes.

It was commissioned by the French Development Agency (AFD).