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Iranian Interior Minister Blames West for Increased Drug Production in Afghanistan

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Fars News Agency
January 24, 2012

Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar lambasted the US-led forces for their lack of care and action in combating drugs in Afghanistan, and said that the western governments have rather supported and protected drug-trafficking and caused an increase in drug production in the war-torn country.

“The escalation of insecurity in the region and the rise in drug trafficking from Afghanistan are among the irreparable consequences of the US and NATO military presence in Afghanistan,” Najjar said at his Monday meeting with Russia’s Minister for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Disaster Management Sergei Shoigu Kuzhugetovich, in Moscow.

The Iranian interior minister further pointed out that Iran and Russia are located along the corridors of Afghan drug trafficking to Europe through the Balkans and Central Asia, and both countries have incurred enormous human and financial costs every year in their campaigns to tackle the issue.

Najjar is on a visit to Moscow to discuss bilateral security cooperation with Russian officials. During the visit, the two sides announced plans to sign memoranda of understanding on disaster management and security issues.

Iran’s police officials have also stated that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

Also, late in May, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura acknowledged increased drug production in Afghanistan.

While Afghanistan produced only 185 tons of opium per year under the Taliban, according to the UN statistics, since the US-led invasion, drug production has surged to 3,400 tons annually. In 2007, the opium trade reached an estimated all-time production high of 8,200 tons.

Afghan and Western officials blame Washington and NATO for the change, saying that allies have “overlooked” the drug problem since invading the country 10 years ago.

This article was posted: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 4:57 am

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