Tehran: “NATO incompetence” on Afghan drug trade


Iran’s anti-drug police chief reproaches the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for failing to act against Afghan poppy cultivation.

“In the past 10 months, Iran’s anti-drug police have confiscated more than 500 tons of narcotics destined for Europe,” General Hamid Reza Hossein-Abadi, the commander of Iran’s anti-drug squad, told reporters on Saturday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Ahmet Pek, head of the Turkish police anti-drug division, the senior Iranian police official criticized NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan for failing to contain poppy cultivation and opium production in the war-torn country.

Afghanistan produces around 90 percent of the world’s opium, which is used to make heroin.

“NATO’s unsuccessful operations in Afghanistan, has prompted drug mafias operating in the country to step up the production and cultivation of narcotics in the country,” Hossein-Abadi told reporters in Istanbul.

Iran leads international efforts in fighting illicit drug trafficking and is second to Pakistan in opiate seizures, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

With 3,500 law enforcement officers killed in two decades of drug busts, the UN credits Iran for the seizure of 80 per cent of the opium netted around the world in 2007.

Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s parliament, on Sunday accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of trafficking narcotics produced in Afghanistan to Europe.

“It is strange that the bulk of these illegal drugs goes to Western countries through NATO-controlled airports,” Larijani told Iranians residing in Munich.

The Afghan counter-narcotics minister on Sunday urged NATO troops operating in the country to treat drug traffickers like Taliban militants.

“They are the same … they are supporting terrorism in Afghanistan … They are working the same networks…,” General Khodaidad said in an interview with reporters in the southern province of Helmand.

“They are the same targets. ISAF must locate these targets and eliminate them,” he added, referring to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

Five provinces in southern Afghanistan, including Farah, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Nimroz, account for 91 per cent of Afghanistan’s poppy cultivation.

The drugs are trafficked mainly through neighboring Pakistan and Iran to Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Bron: Global Research, 08/02/2009