Crystal-Meth Industry is booming in Afghanistan amidst Economic and Humanitarian Crises. The humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan has forced millions of Afghans to find new sources of income. A growing number of them have turned to the booming methamphetamine industry to eke out a living and stave off starvation. They collect ephedra, a wild herb that is used to make crystal meth, from the mountains and sell it in the cities.
The root causes of Afghanistan’s loss of access to food, water, shelter, and health care are almost all economic. Millions of dollars in lost income, spiking prices, and the collapse of the country have contributed to the crisis. In rural areas, the severe impact of a second drought in four years continues to affect the livelihoods of 7.3 million people who rely on agriculture and livestock to survive. As a result, Afghanistan is now among the world’s worst humanitarian crises, and food security has all but collapsed.
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 worsened the crisis and triggered an economic collapse. Western donors abruptly cut off assistance to the heavily aid-dependent country and imposed sanctions on the new, unrecognized government. As a result, an estimated one million Afghans have lost their jobs.
The economic crisis is occurring as inflation and cost increases have been accelerating, with an over 50 percent increase for basic household items since July. New York-based United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) rapid appraisal report states that as much as 97 percent of the population is at risk of sinking below the poverty line unless a response to the country’s political and economic crises is urgently launched.
Afghanistan is undergoing an unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis due to a multitude of factors, including the Taliban’s takeover, drought, sanctions, and inflation. These factors have led to a widespread loss of jobs and income, with many Afghans turning to the booming methamphetamine industry to eke out a living. The international community must act fast to provide aid and assistance to the Afghan people and help stabilize the country’s economy and political situation.