Политология /10.Региональные политические процессы


PhD student Gaukhar Kydyrkhanova


International Relations Department, Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan




Since the level of drug trafficking arisen as a new non-traditional security threat in Kazakhstan and the rest Central Asian states the problem has escalated to a significant extent in the region and beyond. For the last 16 years the level of drugs detained has increased in 30 times [1]. Whilst the indicator mostly signifies the growing level of drugs illicitly transported rather than an increased effectiveness of the drug countering efforts taken by the stakeholders. It is also worthy to note that a significant part of illicit drugs remain the Central Asian countries. According to the recent UNODC data an approximate amount of drugs transported from Afghanistan through Central Asia at the moment comprise 65 percent and about its 30 percent remains in the region. The level of drugs transported through Kazakhstan comprise about 100 - 150 tonnes annually [2]. This negatively influences the functioning of the key state institutes.

The first and foremost implication of the drug trafficking problem is the growth of drug addiction due to large availability and consequently the low cost of the “product”. Apart from that different other problems could be listed as negative consequences of drug trafficking through Central Asian states, i.e. growth of drug-related crimes, HIV spread, internal family problems, increase of corruption level as well as further development of related trafficking  Despite significant part of drugs transported stay in transit states, criminal groups could get a higher benefit in EU markets. Once it passes EU borders, an average price per 1 kilo of drugs comprises about 6000 US dollars. The Central Asia is therefore an important transit route rather than a final destination for drugs. Nevertheless, besides raise of criminal offence, this caused different social and political problems.

The drug trafficking problems have coincided with the start of economic crises in the newly independent countries, which did not have an appropriate protection system from flow of Afghan drugs. Today the Central Asia has the highest level of the drug addiction in the world. The raise of female drug addiction causes another important concern (approximately 6,3 percent per year) [3] HIV problems have also grown as a result of drug availability increase. According to the recent UN data about 85 percent HIV infections appear as a result of drug injections [4]. Whilst there is a home production of drugs in Chu Valley, South Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan the opiate drug addiction growth is a major and preliminary problem in the region. Since the start of the escalation of drug addiction growth problem, the level of drug-related crimes has also arisen. The crimes are often committed in order to get some money for drugs or selling them. Another type of drug-related crimes is crimes committed under the drug intoxication. The law enforcement bodies are seriously concerned with growing level of drug-related crimes in the region [5].

Another aspect of drug trafficking growth problem is increased level of unemployment, to be more precise the loss of jobs as a result of physical inability related to drug addiction. The drug addiction also fostered the growth of family problems, such as divorces. Since early 1990-s the number of divorces has significantly increased. The drug addiction of one of the spouses was often the reason for that. The impact the drug addiction in the family poses on children is another negative implication of the problem. Besides the psychological problems the children may face, the drug addiction of their parents also lead to increase of dereliction in the region.  

Criminal groups are keenly interested in unstable political system as the political control is an important tool to counter the drug trafficking. Trans-national criminal groups significantly influence the growth of corruption in the region. Apart from slowing down the level of development, the growth of corruption also causes the lack of social trust to the ruling Government. In order to tackle the problem the Government often restricts the punishment measures and control over the drug trafficking efforts. However, this slows down the democratic reforms and the development of free trans-border trade flows.   

The criminalisation of state management structures also implies the inter-linkage between law enforcement bodies and criminal groups. The recent arrest of Mahmadov is a vivid example when the drug transnational group leader could legalise their activities and enter the diplomatic service to ease and extend his illegal operations [6]. All the outlined factors pose a serious threat to stability of state administration in activities through the profit they gain from their involvement in drug trafficking operations.

The fact that drug trafficking criminal croups are closely linked to terrorism, extremism and insurgency problems is obvious in the Central Asia. The destabilisation, insurgency, terrorism and extremism bring in the region eases the drug trafficking activities. According to the Medler, such groups as Mazary-Shariff, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) finance their insurgency activities through the profit they get from involvement in drug trafficking activities [7]. The drugs often serve as a payment mean for weapons.

This demonstrates that transnational criminal group activities should be considered in complex with terrorism and extremism insurgency as well as drug trafficking. It is also important to note that illicit drug trafficking also provides favourable conditions for different other activities, such as human and weapons trafficking.   The final destination for drugs are often EU markets as the price for drugs transported is 30 times higher in Western EU markets. According to T. Blair speech 95 percent of Afghan heroin is consumed by UK [8]. The relevant co-operation between Central Asia and EU is in place. Despite one of successfully implemented bilateral co-operation programs was a counter-narcotics programme, the flow of drugs annually transported through Central Asia still grows.

The drug trafficking therefore poses a significant risk to the Central Asia’s security in much broader social and economic framework rather than drug addiction and decrease of the rule of law. These issues have to be considered in complex while elaborating the counter-narcotics efforts. Nevertheless the drug trafficking problems in Eurasian countries would not be eliminated unless the drug production growth stops in Afghanistan.


1.  Комиссина И., Куртов А. Наркотическая «заря» над Центральной Азией – новая угроза цивилизации // Центральная Азия и Кавказ. – 2000. – №5(11). – С.122-123.

2.  Ашимбаев М., Курганбаева Г.А. и др. Наркотизация общества: состояние проблемы. Опыт противодействия. – Алматы: КИСИ при Президенте РК, 2004.

3.  Наркотизация общества: состояние, проблемы, опыт противодействия. – Алматы, 2004. – С.8

4.  UNAIDS, National Response Brief Kazakhstan: retrieved December, 4, 2002//http://www.unaids.org/nationalresponse/result.asp

5.  Ibid, p.13

6.  Билисбеков Н. Борьба с наркобизнесом // «Бетпе Бет» от 28.03.2007 // http://www.khabar.kz/index.cfm?tid=18

7.   J. Medler. Afghan Heroin: Terrain, Tradition and Turmoil. – London, 2005.

8.  RFE World News: 23.01.2004.