• Understanding the impact of illicit economies in Afghanistan's Development

    A summary report of the APPG Afghanistan briefing and discussion on the role illicit economies play in Afghanistan's development. Core themes include the drug economy, mining, and migration.

    PDF icon BAAG_IllicitEconom_Final.pdf
  • UNODC: Afghanistan Opium Survey 2015 Summary, October 2015

    According to latest figures, opium poppy cultivations in Afghanistan decreased 19% in 2015 compared to the previous year. The area under cultivation is now estimated to be 183,000 hectares compared with 224,000 hectares in 2014 - the first such decrease for over 5 years. Additionally, the southern and western regions produced notably low yields per hectare cultivated, contributing to the overall decline in national production, with analysts suggesting this could be the result of poor climactic conditions and lack of water. 

    PDF icon Afg_Opium Survey Executive_summary_2015_final.pdf
  • AREU: Helmand on the Move - Migration as a Response to Crop Failure, October 2015

    AREU’s brief, “Helmand on the Move: Migration as a Response to Crop Failure,” draws on detailed fieldwork in Helmand to highlight how repeated crop failure in the former desert areas of southwestern Afghanistan, where opium cultivation has been concentrated over the last five years, has led to welfare losses and significant levels of migration, particularly by the land-poor. Security has largely remained stable despite the decreased ISAF presence in Helmand, although it varies according to proximity to district and provincial centres. The absence of any viable alternatives to the continually failing opium crop, particularly in the former desert areas, and an increasingly hostile outlook toward the Afghan government by this large and landless group, however, create the potential for instability.Contrasting with the situation in Helmand Province, good agricultural conditions in Balkh Province over the past few years have led to an increase in the amount of land and high-value crops planted as well as low incidence of debt, as researcher Paul Fishstein found in his “Briefing Note on Fieldwork in Balkh Province.” Other factors include a strong market for cotton, a “strategic industrial crop,” historically grown in northern provinces, as well as continued investment in value chains.

    PDF icon AREU Helmand on the Move- Migration as a Response to Crop Failure.pdf, PDF icon AREU Briefing note in Balkh Province- Opium and the rural livelihoods.pdf
  • The Lancet: Afghanistan has a sizeable problem with opioid use, October 2014

    This study, conducted under the auspices of the State Department's Afghanistan National Urban Drug Use Study, surveyed 2,187 randomly selected urban households about home use of both illegal and prescription drugs. Then they compared the self-reported drug use with biological tests taken from samples of hair provided by household members.  The study findings support concerns raised that Afghanistan has a high rate of drug usage — about 5.1 percent, or 1 in 20 people. Opioids and cannabis were the most popular.  

    PDF icon Lancet Afghanistan Drugs study Oct14.pdf
  • AREU: Rural Livelihoods and Opium Poppy Dynamics, September 2014

    The suppression of opium production in Afghanistan has been a high priority for the international community in the last decade.  However, 2013 saw a 150% increase in poppy cultivation compared to 2000.  AREU's (Afghanistan Research & Evaluation Unit) report looks at 4 provinces tackling the problem. Some areas have seen farmers shift to alternative crops for economic, political or governance reasons.  Others have seen the shift due to coercive measures such as the threat of arrest or forced eradication of crops.  The rapidly changing political, security and economic environment will have a profound impact on narcotics and counternarcotics (and vice versa) in the years ahead.

    PDF icon AREU Despair or Hope Web Version.pdf
  • UNODC: Impacts of Drug Use on Users and their Families, April 2014

    This study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) examines the origins, evolution and impact of drug use on users and their families across Afghanistan. With the rate of drug addiction currently estimated to be approximately 10% of the population, the interviews conducted as part of this study clearly link such behaviour to widespread domestic violence, unemployment, financial difficulties, crime, and limited academic progress for children. The study also additionally finds peer pressure to be the primary trigger for drug use in Afghanistan. 

    PDF icon UNODC Impacts of Drug Use.pdf
  • UNODC: Afghanistan Opium Survey 2013 Summary, November 2013

    Poppy cultivation has increased from 154,000 hectares in 2012 to 209,000 hectares in 2013 - the highest ever recorded by UNODC.  In the press release launching the joint report by UNODC and the Ministry of Counter Narcotics, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, UNODC Representative for the region stated "As we approach 2014 and the withdrawal of international forces from the country, Afghanistan, working with its many friends and allies in a spirit of shared responsibility, must make some very serious choices about the future it wants, and act accordingly.” Read the summary findings of the report here. 

    PDF icon Afghanistan Opium Survey 2013 - summary.pdf
  • UNODC: 2012 Survey of Commercial Cannabis Cultivation & Production, September 2013

    The 2012 survey of cannabis cultivation in Afghanistan sees a 17% decrease in acreage compared to 2011, but an 8% increase in yield.  Growing cannabis remains lucrative, despite a downward correction in prices since the peak in 2011: in 2012, farmers potentially achieved a gross income of US$ 6,400 per hectare from cannabis resin, which exceeds the gross income from opium (US$ 4,600 per hectare) in the same year.Read the full report here.  

    PDF icon Cannabis-Survey-2012-UNODC-Full-Report_10Sept2013_final.pdf
  • AREU: A Little Bit Poppy-free and a Little Bit Eradicated; June 2013

    The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit’s latest paper examines how households in Balkh and Badakhshan provinces decide whether or not to cultivate opium poppy.  It says coercive measures to halt cultivation are counterproductive when people have few economic alternatives - and when the economic benefits of opium production far outweigh those alternatives.  AREU suggests that good governance and security is needed to promote long term trade markets and help Afghans grow other, economically viable, crops. 

    PDF icon A Little Bit Poppy-free and a Little Bit Eradicated June 2013.pdf
  • UNODC: Opium Risk Assessment, April 2013

    A new UN report says opium production in Afghanistan has risen for the third consecutive year and is moving towards record levels. The report, from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), says poppy cultivation has increased in 12 provinces, including the largest poppy growing areas of Helmand and Kandahar.  According to the UN,  the latest figures indicated “a strong association between insecurity, lack of agricultural assistance and opium cultivation.”

    PDF icon UNODC Opium Risk Assessment April 2013.pdf
  • AREU: All Bets are Off! January 2013

    This report focuses on the prospects for reaching - or breaching - agreements and drug control in the provinces of Helmand and Nangarhar in the run up to Transition.  By analysing the different factors that have led to an increase in cultivation in Helmand and Nangarhar in the 2011-12 growing season, it offers insight into how important the illegal drugs trade will to be in the political economy of a post-transition Afghanistan.  It suggests that expanding bans on opium, regardless of the socioeconomic and political conditions,  has undermined state formation, increased rural discontent and presented new opportunities for the insurgency.

    PDF icon AREU All Bets are Off Jan. 2013.pdf
  • UNODC: Afghanistan Opium Survey, November 2012

    The latest survey from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) finds that opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan rose by 18 per cent in 2012.  It says the increase occurred despite a significant rise in eradication efforts by the Afghan government.  However, it added that opium prodcution had dropped by 36 per cent over the same period because crops had been damaged by bad weather and disease.

    PDF icon Afghanistan Opium Survey Nov. 2012.pdf
  • UNODC 2011 report on opium production in Afghanistan, October 2011

    The latest Afghan Opium Survey from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime shows Afghanistan has witnessed a sharp increase in opium production.

    PDF icon UNODC 2011 report on opium production Oct. 2011.pdf
  • UNODC Opium Survey 2011, Winter Rapid Assessment, January 2011

    PDF icon UNODC Winter Rapid Assessment Jan. 2011.pdf