The Afghan Heroin Trade


TRANSNATIONAL CRIME FORUM with Mr. Christer Brännerud

Head of Criminal Intelligence Department

Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 13:00-15:30

Drug trafficking is a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. At current levels, world heroin consumption (340 tons) and seizures represent an annual flow of 430-450 tons of heroin into the global heroin market. The Balkan and northern routes are the main heroin trafficking corridors linking Afghanistan to the huge markets of the Russian Federation and Western Europe. The northern route runs mainly through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (or Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan) to Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. The size of that market is estimated to total $13 billion per year.

Southern Tajikistan lies along some of the most lawless and unstable regions of Afghanistan where warlords rule and drug barons control the contraband routes leading to Central Asia and beyond. The rewards that come with trafficking the drugs can be hard to resist for Tajik people, who struggle to make a living along the country’s long and open border with Afghanistan. This makes the country an important transit point for one of the most lucrative drugs routes in the world. Illegal drugs from neighboring Afghanistan flood into the country on their way to Russia and Western Europe.

Based on his nearly decade long experience working for UNODC in the region, Mr. Brännerud will discuss different aspects of the heroin trade emanating from Afghanistan. Although his statement will have a regional focus, Mr. Brännerud will use the Tajik case as a prime example of how the drug trafficking affects society, the level of corruption and the people involved.

Mr. Christer Brännerud is a Superintendent and Head of the Intelligence Department at the Stockholm County Police (Söderortspolisen). From 1979 to 1995 he worked within the uniformed police force. Between 1995 and 2002, Mr. Brännerud worked at the Drug Sub Division at Interpol HQS in Lyon, France. During this period, he also received intelligence analysis training at Warwick University, UK. Upon his return to Lyon after completed training he was assigned the post as Head of the Analytical Criminal Intelligence Unit, covering various crime fields globally. Starting in 2004, Mr. Brännerud was posted to Dushanbe, Tajikistan where he worked for the UNODC in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Caucasus. His main task was to implement Intelligence Led Policing methodologies at counter narcotic agencies in the region. Simultaneously, as Head of the UNODC Country Office in Tajikistan, he also provided support to the Tajikistan Drug Control Agency in terms of procurement of equipment, special law enforcement training for its operational units. Only as of January 1st this year, Mr. Brännerud returned to Sweden.

To attend, RSVP by March 25, 2013 to Mr. Robert Nilsson at