1. Always a pleasure @SecKermani & @BBCNews. For those interested our body of research on ephedra/ephedrine/meth has built iteratively from 2018 with partners @AlcisGeo @AlexSoderholm & funded by organisations such as LSE @EMCDDA @L4P_Afghanistan & ourselves. The work includes:
2. A forensic review of the USFOR-A bombing campaign of heroin labs- this is where we 1st saw ephedra soaking in buckets in a lab & realised cooks had discarded decongestants & were sourcing ephedra from the mountains halving the production costs for meth. lse.ac.uk/united-states/…
3. Subsequent fieldwork in the mountains of Ghazni represented our first look @the ephedra crop insitu followed by further work in Ghor-this time during the harvest season- both of which allowed us to better understand the evolving trade in the wild plant. blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2019…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with David Mansfield

David Mansfield Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @mansfieldintinc

14 Dec
4. The next leg of research focused on the rapidly developing cottage industry in ephedrine production drawing on indepth interviews with cooks & high resolution imagery analysis used to identify & count labs, & monitor developments in key market hubs. emcdda.europa.eu/system/files/p…
5. We then expanded the lab count over a wider area in the SW to include parts of Nimroz & Farah. We found 348 ephedrine labs alone - enough to produce the equivalent of 1,000 MT of meth per year - & calculated the income earned by those involved. l4p.odi.org/resources/war-…
6. Finally our efforts to better understand developments since Aug ‘21, this includes the dramatic uptick in the stocks of ephedrine in the SW & a significant increase in ephedrine production, as people look to maintain incomes by increasing volume in the face of economic crisis
Read 8 tweets
3 Dec
1. The Afghan population is suffering from economic crisis & drought. Rural people are especially vulnerable: they lack functioning markets for legal cash crops, public sector employment has collapsed, & the private sector-once buoyed by international spending- is imploding.
2. Many are trying to escape, leaving the country in large numbers via Zaranj in the SW. The exodus began as early as May 2021 when Biden announced the US withdrawal, & increased exponentially with the Taliban takeover. In October, as many as 12K people left the country each day.
3. In the past, smugglers talked of the heyday of 2014-15 when W. Europe was “open”. Now they say business has never been so as good. The numbers departing have fallen with the onset of winter, but there are still more than twice as many people leaving as 12 months ago.
Read 25 tweets
18 Nov
1. I dont think I have seen a report this confused for some time. Well possibly not since UNODC’s “is poverty driving the opium boom in Afghanistan” in 2008 (a report that argues the polar opposite of what @UNODC is claiming here).
2. It is not just the word soup (p7) “In view of the volatile security situation, protracted economic crisis & health emergency, the international community must urgently provide basic needs & services to the people of Afghanistan” (breath)…
3. …..” to promote sustainable reductions in illicit drug cultivation, production & demand” (& I suspect here is the rub) “as part of overall UN assistance”.
Read 23 tweets
21 Oct
1. The latest report exposes a number of myths about Afghanistan, drugs, taxes & the Taliban based on indepth fieldwork over the last 25 years and high resolution imagery analysis @AlcisGeo areu.org.af/wp-content/upl…
2. It suggests we all need to be more discerning consumers of data: media, scholars, officials. It’s a prerequisite that we look at method, even if it’s in an esteemed journal, from a celebrated journalist or scholar, or an official UN report. For example (in no particular order)
3. Myth 1. The Taliban banned opium cultivation in 2000/01 to increase the value of the stockpiles they had accumulated. The reality is the opium bazaars were already empty in May 2001 and no stockpiles were ever found in Afghanistan despite considerable efforts to locate them.
Read 25 tweets
11 Oct
1. The numbers of migrants departing Zaranj in Nimroz for Pakistan en route to Iran has increased exponentially. Reports indicate most are ex employees of the former Republic, some leaving along with their families, highlighting the desperate situation for many in Afghanistan.
2. We have been documenting these departures for some time. As early as June 2021 -some 2 months before the govt collapsed- we pointed to the dramatic rise in the number of migrants & the growing proportion of ANA/ANP amongst them.
3. Since capturing Zaranj the the people smuggling business has been “regulated” by Taliban. Akin to other businesses, regulation has been minimal & often taken the form of restating pre-existing practices. Further evidence of the Taliban’s “small govt” approach to the economy.
Read 15 tweets
31 Aug
1. I was trying to avoid any more threads for a while but this story needs much more context and a look beyond the headlines. It represents only a snapshot in time and perhaps a local event: it certainly not the whole picture.
2. 12 days ago the price of fresh opium increased to around $135 per kilogram in the south, a function of market uncertainty due to the Taliban announcement of the intention to ban opium poppy cultivation, but also border closures following their capture of Kabul.
3. However, this was only temporary and markets have now corrected: prices have fallen to between $55 & $80 per kilogram in Helmand depending on quality. On the Iranian border prices are slightly higher, at up to $100/kg for good quality opium.
Read 8 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!