Africa’s heroin highway to Western markets
February 1, 2019 -- A rising share of the heroin crop from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan is being shipped along a network of maritime routes to East and southern Africa in a so-called “smack track” to the West.
The traditional land route via Iran, Turkey and the Balkans has become increasingly difficult for drug traffickers to use – owing to Turkey tightening its borders in response to the war in Syria, and attempts by European countries to keep out refugees. As a result, more of the harvests are being dispatched along the “southern route” to Africa, according to the Economist newspaper.
Most of the heroin is destined for Western markets but a spin-off trade is fuelling consumption in Africa, along with the formation of an integrated regional criminal economy.