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Correlation between Narcotics-trafficking and Terrorism in Pakistan

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Correlation between
Narcotics-trafficking and Terrorism
in Pakistan

Mian Majid Ali Afzal

Narco-terrorism has resulted not only in over nine million drug addicts in 2018 but is also responsible for the emergence of many organised criminal gangs that deal in drugs and arms, kidnapping for ransom, targeted killings, speed money, extortion, and financing terrorists. The unholy alliance of organised crime and terrorist outfits is now considered as serious internal security threats to the State against which huge and costly military operations are undertaken. Militancy, religious bigotry and narco-terrorism are the cancerous maladies that every successive government has failed to combat effectively.

The global wars on drugs and terrorism have found similarity in combating the threat posed by narco-terrorism. The phenomenon of narco-terrorism is based on two separate yet interconnected concepts: narcotics-trafficking and terrorism. Although this menace is usually associated with Latin America, it is progressively connected to Central and Southeast Asia and more explicitly to the narcotics-delivering areas of the Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle. The cultivation of opium in Afghanistan and its trade has helped terrorist groups extract finances for their nefarious activities. The Pakistan-Afghan border doesn’t have barbed wires like the Pakistan-India border does. Every day, thousands of vehicles pass through and narcotics can easily be hidden in containers, secret pockets, car parts to transport to Pakistan.

What is Narco-terrorism?

According to Oxford dictionary, narco-terrorism is defined as ‘terrorism associated with the trade in illicit drugs’ while in the United States, it refers to the recognized organization between drug trafficking and terrorism.

Situation in FATA

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which is geologically adjoining Pakistan and Afghanistan, has reliably been a wellspring of weakness and flimsiness. The region has particularly been a hotbed for terrorists and militant cells for a long time, inarguably creating repercussions at both neighbourhood and territorial levels. An article in Foreign Affairs magazine claimed “… every major Afghan insurgent group … has established its command-and-control headquarter on the Pakistani side of the border.” The terrorist groups have been operating in FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. These terrorist groups conducted their operation through the amounts they gained from drug trade. Although Pakistan had conducted largely successful operations in order to eliminate the presence of terrorism supported by drug trade, there is still a long way to go.

Narco-terror nexus

Different radical groups have been thought of getting profits by narco-trade. There is ample proof that the Afghan Taliban, the TTP, and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are engaged in the trafficking of drugs. At the same time, there is every possibility of a drug-trafficking nexus between Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Almost certainly, Al Qaeda benefits in a roundabout way due to its relationship with the Taliban. These outfits utilize unlawful methods, for example, to pick up power and impact, work inside an order that disconnects heads from criminal control, and are versatile to evolving circumstances. This has enabled terrorist organizations to take on attributes of criminal groups to pick up financing from the narcotics trade. Benefits from the drugs trade, while they might be the fundamental wellspring of benefits continuing these groups, help to help tasks.

How to overcome?

  1. Narcotics and fear-mongering are double foes of Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is a pressing need for directing concentration towards comprehension and resolution of the issues between the two countries so as to effectively curb drug trafficking that helps terrorism spread.
  2. Narco-trade must be halted through disturbance instruments and other procedures planned through research by experts and authorities.
  3. The real choices of opiate development and creation should be authorized and guaranteed so as to demoralize those who grow and trade in opium.
  4. The demand reduction mechanism needs to be re-evaluated and enforced.
  5. Terrorism coming about because of drugs trade requires various methodologies and contributions from all partners in the public arena.

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