Iran's anti-drug police chief

US responsible for opium surge in Afghanistan

Islamabad, Dec 12, IRNA - Iran's Anti-Narcotics Police Chief Brigadier General Mohammed Masoud Zahedian said since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 the opium production in the country has surged by 45 percent.

Zahedian said this during an interview with Iranian media on the sidelines of the 13th Senior Officials Meeting of the Triangular Initiative on drug control which concluded in Islamabad on Wednesday.

The head of Iranian delegation said that illicit drug production and its trafficking is a major threat to the world and the aim of Triangular Initiative meeting was to enhance cooperation of the participating countries to curb the problem.

He went on to say that when the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 the opium production in the country was 200 tons which has now increased to 9,000 tons.

The official strongly believed that the US presence in Afghanistan has not only ruined peace of the country, but also increased terrorism and drug trafficking.

He noted that it is evident that under the US presence, terrorism and drug trafficking have reached an alarming level in Afghanistan, which pose a great threat to the regional states.

Zahedian said that during the meeting it was decided to make the joint planning cell of the three countries on drug trafficking more effective.

He revealed that soon a meeting of ministers of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan would be held to review performance of Triangular Initiative on drug control.

Expressing his views, Iran narcotics police chief said that Iran desires to enhance cooperation with Pakistan and Afghanistan to stop drug trafficking.

He further added that Iran is using modern equipment and technology on bordering areas to stop drug trafficking.

Meanwhile Director General of Pakistan’s Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) Major General Muhammad Arif Malik talking to Iranian media said sharing of information and intelligence is very important between the three countries.

“We have agreed to establish more joint information planning cells in Islamabad and Kabul as one is already been working in Tehran which would coordinate against trafficking,” he added.

The official said in Afghanistan drug business is linked with terrorism but in Pakistan it is not related to terrorism, but it is linked with anti-state elements. Expressing his views, ANF commander said in Afghanistan drug money is used by the Taliban for the terrorist activities.

He said after 9/11 the growth of poppy increased in the areas controlled by Taliban and until and unless there is peace in Afghanistan the poppy cultivation will continue to increase.

The thirteenth ‘Triangular Initiative’ meeting of senior officials from the three neighboring countries helped to find solutions to their common challenges by adhering to a comprehensive and balanced approach to improve the regional cooperation in countering drug trafficking.

The ‘Triangular Initiative’ was brokered in 2007 by UNODC as complementary to peace-building efforts in the region, promoting information exchange and encouraging joint field operations among the three countries against drug trafficking networks and serious operatives.

Earlier speaking on the occasion, UNODC representative in Pakistan Cesar Guedes believed that the strengthening of regional partnership against the massive flow of illicit drugs in the region, within the framework of this strategic collaborative process, could serve as a conduit for saving lives and improving their quality.

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