S Africa is new market for Afghani drug cartels

Fakir Hassen
·2-min read

Johannesburg, Nov 9 (PTI) South Africa has emerged as a lucrative new market for drug cartels operating out of Afghanistan, a latest report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC) has said.

But local dealers identify the illegal imports as originating in Pakistani rather than Afghanistan, according to drug researchers.

Jason Eligh, senior illicit drug market expert at GI-TOC, told the weekly Sunday Times that the organisation's research had looked at how Southern and East Africa are being affected by different narcotics.

'Through our research we identified the emergence of the apparent new meth supply route into Africa and South Africa from Afghanistan,” Eligh told the weekly.

'Confirmation of this new route is strengthened by the seizures at Komatipoort (the main border post between Mozambique and South Africa) and (the port city of) Pemba, in Mozambique,” Eligh added.

GI-TOC is a multi-national organisation that works with law enforcement agencies to analyse and interpret trends in organised crime.

The drug crystal meth, popularly known in South Africa as tik, is very popular, particularly among unemployed youth who are known to resort to crime to get their hands on the drug.

But drug researcher Monique Marks, head of the Durban University of Technology’s Urban Futures Centre, told the weekly that meth is now also used by those in affluent areas in this port city in South Africa.

In Cape Town, the Afghani drug is commonly referred to as ‘Pakistani’, with one dealer reportedly claiming to have no idea that there was a country called Afghanistan.

According to the GI-TOC report, crystal meth is being smuggled into South Africa through long-established heroin smuggling routes.

In May this year, during the national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two South Africans were arrested at the Komatipoort border post for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country 100kg of crystal meth. PTI FH DPB DPB