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Current Affairs

Taliban alliance with Mexican drug cartels

Date: 07 September 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

As Taliban strengthens its grip over Afghanistan, it remains to be seen how it will survive without its lifeline, the drug trade.

 

Background

The Taliban and Mexican drug cartels have similarities. Both depend on extreme violence and measures to strengthen their power.

 

Details

In recent elections in Mexico, the cartel was involved in killing opposition candidates not endorsed by them. This is a signal of open political participation by the cartel.

 

Opium trade

  • More than 95% of poppy cultivation is carried out in Mexico, Afghanistan and Myanmar. It further channels into heroin and other substances.

  • The Opium growers are directly in contact with Taliban. A report by US Congress in 2009 said that about 50% of Afghanistan’s GDP in that year was due to drug trade.

  • Majority of cultivation of opium takes place in areas under the influence and control of Taliban. They have banned consumption of opiates but not banned growing.

  • Opium trade constitutes major part of Taliban’s finances. It is a major factor for drug abuse in the country.

 

The competition

  • Drug trade in Mexico is currently led by Sinaloa cartel. They have best land where poppy cultivation is most profitable.

  • Taliban is their potential rival. However, the goal of both these organizations is different. Both these groups serve different markets.

  • The Sinaloa cartel has the largest drug share in US. It has presence over 60% of countries in the world including Europe, China, India and West Africa.

  • These are the same countries and areas where Taliban sells its drugs. It will not be the first time that drug cartels have come together for increasing their profits and political influence.