Afghanistan hails Iran anti-drug efforts

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai (L) and Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar Photo:NewsBureau    Gallery Enlarge Image

By S Kumar
Date  30 Nov 2011

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has hailed Iran's efforts in its campaign against drug trafficking, which he called a source of regional concern.

Karzai admired the Islamic Republic's clampdown on traffickers at a meeting with Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar in Kabul on Tuesday.

The meeting came on the sidelines of the fifth ministerial conference of the Triangular Initiative, attended by the representatives from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

“According to the reports, traffickers make 60 billion dollars by smuggling narcotics and Afghanistan suffers the ill fame,” the Afghan president said, adding that the fight against the plague claims 45,000 lives annually.

Karzai said that drug trafficking has turned into a source of concern in the region and called on Russia and Tajikistan to do more to help the counter-drug campaign in the region.

The Iranian official, who is in Afghanistan to attend a regional summit on ways to boost the anti-drug drive, also highlighted the need for stronger confrontation with drug producers and dealers in Afghanistan.

“Plantation and production of narcotics in Afghanistan has increased 40 times since American entered Afghanistan 10 years ago,” Mohammad-Najjar stated, referring to the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

He further expressed hope that the upcoming conference will lead to efficient measures to help fight drug trafficking more seriously on a regional and global scale.

With a 900-kilometer (560-mile) common border with Afghanistan, Iran has been used as the main conduit for smuggling Afghan drugs to narcotics kingpins in Europe.

Iran has spent more than USD 700 million to seal the porous borders and prevent the transit of narcotics destined for the European, Arab and Central Asian countries.

The war on drug trade originating from Afghanistan has claimed the lives of nearly 3,700 Iranian police officers over the past 30 years.

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