The Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (www.ceip.org) in its report Agenda for Peace says that Russian authorities have turned Tajikistan into a “narco-state.” Drug money, says the report, sustains the state budget and is the principal source of income for many state officials. The Christian Science Monitor says Western diplomats in Dushanbe estimate that a third of the country’s gross domestic product is drug-related.
Russian and Western authorities agree that Tajikistan, long the main route for drugs moving out of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia to Russian and European markets, is now a producer as well.
With the Taliban cracking down on poppy cultivation in the 90 percent of Afghanistan that is under its control, the industry has moved into the northern reaches of the country, where Russian-armed anti-Taliban Tajiks hold sway, and into southern Tajikistan. Production labs are appearing in Tajikistan, and rising supplies have brought heroin prices down in Russia, increasing the spread of addiction there.
The Tajik drug mafia, it is said, has grown powerful enough to challenge Russian mafias even inside Russia. Left unchecked, says the Carnegie report, Tajikistan’s drug trade will overwhelm southern Kazakhstan as well.