This chapter explains the historical and political origins of smuggling networks in contemporary civil wars. It uncovers how colonial borders warped pre-existing economic systems, and unpacks the ways that Cold War interference helped catalyze the eruption of civil wars that militarized and criminalized borderland economies. To illustrate these phenomena, the chapter presents evidence from three key countries where smuggling and civil war intersect: Afghanistan; Somalia; and Mali. Drawing on over a decade of field research, the chapter examines the international origins of these domestic crises, and thus reveals why these three states were predisposed to crisis and collapse.