Fedotov’s visit came on the heels of a new May 2012 106-page UNODC report on the drug trade in Central Asia, including details on the transit of Afghan heroin to Russia. According to the Tajik outlet Avesta, while traffickers went through other Central Asian countries, Tajikistan was the key transfer point because of its long shared border with Afghanistan and the 1.4 billion USD in net profits enjoyed by Tajik traffickers due largely to a 600 percent mark up for drugs reaching Russian territory.
The UNODC report stressed that nearly 200 kilograms of heroin and 50 kilograms of opium entered Tajikistan daily, all while seizures rates were falling and the number of drug traders rising. The report also noted that drug money was contributing to the jump in unusually high prices of property in Dushanbe and other areas, and was driving the proliferation of expensive cars and houses. Much of the blame for the growing drug trade problem in the region was pinned on corruption, especially the collusion of government officials with traffickers. Tajikistan commentators were particularly worried about how the problem might worsen after NATO left Afghanistan.
The visit of UNODC’s Yuri Fedotov to Tajikistan to push for regional anti-drug trafficking cooperation may be a small step to address a massive problem, but will be difficult for Central Asian countries to stem the tide of trafficking and addiction without the continued assistance from the UN. It has provided valuable support to local efforts to combat drug smuggling, which Tajik president Rakhmon acknowledged in his meeting with Fedotov.