Monday, January 01, 2007

Iran said to resist Afghan opium tide

Iran has spent nearly one billion dollars building trenches, watch towers and other fortifications along its wilderness border with Afghanistan (photo), and its seizures of opium account for 60 per cent of all opium seizures in the world, according to writer David Fiderer in the Huffington Post. Nevertheless, opium and heroin "is devastating Iran's youth the way World War I devastated France."

Ignoring Iranian requests for cooperation in battling the Afghan drug traffic, U.S. and Afghan authorities have "looked the other way" while major drug processing and trafficking operations go on in plain view in Afghanistan, Fiderer says. He cites a report in the Dec. 6 Los Angeles Times:
Military units in Afghanistan largely overlook drug bazaars, rebuff some requests to take U.S. drug agents on raids and do little to counter the organized crime syndicates shipping the drug to Europe, Asia and, increasingly, the United States, according to officials and documents.

In many cases the Pentagon has balked at drug interdiction efforts even when it had the resources, said a former senior U.S. anti-drug official, who declined to give details of what he said were classified operations.

"There were [drug] convoys where military people looked the other way, and situations where DEA sought [Pentagon] intelligence and it wasn't given to them," the former official said.

"DEA would identify a lab to go hit or a storage facility and [the Pentagon] would find a reason to ground the helicopters," the former official added. "They would say we don't want you to create a disturbance in an area where we're trying to chase down terrorists and the Taliban."
More from the L.A. Times.

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