CHANDIGARH: Taliban takeover of Afghanistan could lead to a spurt in smuggling of drugs into India in the coming months.
Opium trade continues to be one of the most significant sources of income for the Taliban. Central and state intelligence agencies in India suspect that the supply of drugs from Afghanistan via Pakistan into Punjab will soon increase.
A senior officer of the Special Task Force on Drugs, on condition of anonymity, said "As the Taliban have now taken control of Afghanistan, it is expected the supply of opiates, especially heroin, from Afghanistan to India via Pakistan will increase as the terror group makes money by selling the contraband. It will take a few months to know the quantity of drugs coming to the state from across the border. But they will definitely be more. And as the production and supply increase, the price will also come down and create a wider market.
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Though it will be a blessing in disguise for the drug addicts, "our efforts to crack down on drugs supply will be greater. Now we will be more vigilant as it is hard to find the smuggled drugs."
"The farmers in the war-ravaged Afghanistan are expected to indulge in the narcotics trade to earn their livelihood. Now, more farmers would grow poppy, extract opium, and refine that into heroin," said an official of a central agency.
Sources said drugs from Afghanistan are expected to reach India through the Pakistan border. A kilogram of smuggled heroin is valued at around Rs 5 crore in the international market. The price of heroin in Afghanistan is very low, but when it enters Pakistan it costs somewhere between Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. And when it enters India, the cost shoots up to Rs 20 to 25 lakh per kilogram.
Sources said that this heroin is smuggled into Punjab directly from Pakistan through couriers from across the fence by using different methods. It is also transported from Afghanistan to Gwadar seaport in Pakistan and from there to Unjha port in north Gujarat via boats and then from there to Punjab in trucks transporting cumin seeds.
Last year, 194 Kg of heroin and chemical was seized in Amritsar by the Special Task Force (STF) which was smuggled from Afghanistan via Pakistan. The consignment reached Punjab via the sea route. Some Afghan nationals also help the smugglers dilute high-quality heroin to increase its quantity.