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News number: 9107118784

19:39 | 2012-11-12

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Commander Blames NATO for Increased Drug Production in Afghanistan

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of the anti-narcotics squad of Iran's Law Enforcement Police General Ali Moayyedi blamed the NATO forces for increased drug plantation, production and trafficking in Afghanistan.



"The presence of the trans-regional forces in Afghanistan means the threat of drug production and trafficking will continue," Moayyedi said in Tehran on Monday, adding that "the most important way to end the international dilemma is the withdrawal of those forces from Afghanistan".

"The presence of the NATO and other foreign forces in Afghanistan has not decreased the production of drugs and has, rather, greatly increased it," he added.

Eastern Iran borders Afghanistan, which is the world's number one opium and drug producer. Iran's geographical position has made the country a favorite transit corridor for drug traffickers who intend to smuggle their cargoes from Afghanistan to drug dealers in Europe.

Iran spends billions of dollars and has lost thousands of its police troops in the war against traffickers. Owing to its rigid efforts, Iran makes 89 percent of the world's total opium seizures and has turned into the leading country in drug campaign.

The Iranian police officials maintain that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

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.

In relevant remarks last week, Head of Russia's Federal Drug Control Service Viktor Ivanov also blamed the US for a major part of the narcotics smuggled from Afghanistan to his country, saying that the volume of the drug cargos destined for Russia will decrease after the withdrawal of the US forces from the war-stricken country.

"I am convinced that the flow of (Afghan) drugs to Russia will decrease as soon as Americans withdraw from Afghanistan," Ivanov told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Ivanov, who had also previously criticized the anti-drug measures taken by the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, strongly hailed the US withdrawal scheduled for the end of 2014.

He also said that more than 100,000 people aged 15-34 died of drug abuse in Russia in 2011.

Ivanov said earlier that 30 tons of drugs, mostly from Afghanistan in the form of heroin, are trafficked into Russia annually.