May 15, 2011

Opium fact of the day

Ten kilograms of opium at the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan fetches about $32,000. However, once one kilogram of heroin reaches Europe, its value skyrockets to between $150-170,000. Source (page 44.).
The thesis goes on and claims in the conclusions (page 80):
Overall, opium production in Afghanistan became a rural livelihood strategy for several reasons. First, the country’s state of permanent warfare altered political, social, and economic relations prior to the Soviet invasion. The country was predominantly rural and isolated from a central state with limited economic wealth. However, armed conflict increased urbanization, forced migration, destroyed arable land and infrastructure, disrupted long-standing kinship networks, ushered in the Mujahedin, the Taliban, and flooded a mostly subsistence economy with money and weapons. With these changes in mind, opium production became a viable rural livelihood strategy because of its physical properties, Afghanistan’s geography, and the dynamic profits, power, and networks associated with opium production.

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