Emerging evidence of Afghanistan’s role as a producer and supplier of ephedrine and methamphetamine


This paper provides an analysis of the available data that suggest that a methamphetamine industry is rapidly being established in Afghanistan. The analysis provided is based on information from key informants, documentary sources and the analysis of satellite imagery. The paper also highlights an expanding market for ephedra that links the mountainous central region of Afghanistan to the former deserts of the south-west. The report is the result of research conducted under the EU4Monitoring Drugs (EU4MD) project, funded by the European Commission.

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Table of contents

  • Introduction  
  • Innovation as a way of life  
  • Ephedra: the wild crop in the mountains
  • The extraction of ephedrine: ‘this is easy, everyone can learn this job’
  • Methamphetamine: ‘it’s technical, it takes time to learn’
  • A price-critical market
  • Assessing the magnitude of production
  • A burgeoning synthetic drug economy
  • Conclusion: does Afghanistan have the potential to become a major methamphetamine-producing region?
  • References
  • Acknowledgements