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grow crystal meth

Small quantities of around half a kilogram are usually seized, said Peter Bottomley, the UNODC’s consultant in Kabul, describing it as a “worrying trend”.
A sack of translucent crystals resembling large grains of sea salt sat on one of the lab’s tables – one of the recent seizures of crystal meth. It stood out starkly among the brown hues of heroin, opium, morphine and hashish in tiny bags.
Prison terms for selling crystal meth are relatively light, with dealers facing up to one year behind bars for 1 kg (2.2 lb), compared with up to three years for opium and a maximum of 10 years for the same amount of heroin.
The growing use of the drug, known as crystal meth or ice, comes at a critical time. Some fear that, with the exit of most foreign troops by the end of next year and dwindling interest and aid from the international community, significant addiction to the relatively new drug could wreak social havoc.
The United States is no stranger to the epidemic of crystal meth, where home-made labs and a booming Mexican trade have consumed small towns.
But its rocketing use hints at falling exclusivity.
Its street price is about $20, or five times that of heroin, making it relatively expensive in one of the world’s poorest countries, said Ahmad Khalid Mowahid, spokesman for the Criminal Justice Task Force that convicts serious drug offenders.
He said Afghanistan does not have the “medicine nor the means” to try to contain a growing meth addiction.
In the country’s sole, ultra-secretive drugs lab on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghan pharmacists analyze samples from seizures brought in on a daily basis, which are subject to three rounds of testing to identify the substance and its potency.
Impoverished Afghanistan, already plagued by insurgency and struggling to contain crippling rates of opium addiction, faces another potential headache with spiraling usage of the synthetic drug crystal methamphetamine.