Investigative report: in regard to Narcotics
Production source: Suboot News Agency
Investigative journalists: Mir. Mohammad Seddiq Zaliq& Misbaah Hosain Forugh
Since 2001, people of Afghanistan and international community have been expecting an afghan administration that could take serious and firm actions to tackle problems in different spheres including eradication of narcotics in Afghanistan.
Contrary to the expectations, over last10 years, Afghan Government has remained failed in counter- narcotics campaign and the actions taken by the government have not been identified as effective .
Over last 10 years, due to some reasons including increasingly insecurity, neighbors’ interference in internal affairs of Afghanistan, affiliation of drug traders with high government authorities, increase in addiction and making of a lot of money by drug traders, Afghan Government has failed to properly pursue counter-narcotics campaign in the country.
Ineffectiveness in counter- narcotics campaign has given not only a bad picture of Afghanistan to the world but resulted in promotion of addiction in the country.
There are more than 1 millions addicts in Afghanistan and if they spend 100 AFN equivalent to approximately 2USD to use drug, 730 million USD would be waste annually which is counted a big damage for the poor economy of Afghanistan.
Taking into consideration that the Afghan government with cooperation of its international backers spends millions of dollars on counter -narcotic campaign and it established a counter-narcotic ministry and counter-narcotics deputy ministration in ministry of interior affairs. These government bodies spend millions of dollars to eradicate cultivation of poppy and fight against drug traffickers, but these anti narcotics government bodies have not made positive and considerable achievements.
Since 2001 till now, decrease in cultivation of poppy hasn’t taken place; rather the poppy cultivation has got increased ten times.
The investigative group ( consists of two journalists) of Suboot News Agency started to identify then introduce the problem of narcotics and the reasons indicating why the international community-backed afghan government failed to tackle the problem of narcotics properly. During conduction the investigation, this group has received some documents manifesting some problems on the ways of counternarcotics campaign.
While pursuing its investigation, the group found complicated obstacles on ways of counter -narcotics campaign.
One of these complicated obstacles is existence of widespread corruption in administration of counter- narcotics.
Afghanistan is included among 3 countries of the world that are announced as the largest producer of opium.
The documents received by the investigative group indicate that a number of high officials at all level of afghan government are directly and indirectly involved in the drug trade, promotion and trafficking of narcotics in the country, in the region and all over the world.
However, involvement of high ranking officials in drug trade and promotion of narcotics in the country are something that has hardly ever been reported by internal and international Medias.
The reports reflected about arrest of drug traders only indicated to detention of individual who are doing small business of drug in lanes and bazaars.
Thousands of tons of drugs being produced in Afghanistan can’t be smuggled to drug markets of the world by small drug traffickers and it is illogical to accept the small drug traffickers would provide the required drugs of 200 million addict populations whose 90% required drugs are produced in Afghanistan.
However, government officials only arrest small drug traffickers who are doing their drug business on kilos of drugs. Taking into account the different anti-narcotics government agencies, the big drug businessmen have not been brought to justice and they feel no threat from governmental justice centers.
Poppy cultivation level
Right after overthrowing of Taliban’s regime in 2001, the areas under poppy cultivation were 8 hectares, but by the start of anti-narcotics compaing, the level of poppy cultivation has increased annually.
The statistics given by UNODC in past 10 years on poppy cultivation in Afghanistan are as follows:
Poppy cultivation level after Taliban’ regime was toppled in 2001 is shown as below:
In The year 2001- 8000 hectares of land areas were under poppy cultivation
In The year 2002-74000 hectares of land areas were under poppy cultivation
In the year 2003 80000 hectares of lands have cultivated with poppy
In the year 2004, 131000 hectares of land were under poppy cultivation;
In the year 2005, 104000 hectares of land were under poppy cultivation;
In the year 2006, 165000 hectares of lands were under poppy cultivation;
In the year, 2007, 193000 hectares of lands were under poppy cultivation;
In the year, 2008, 157000 hectares of lands were under poppy cultivation;
In the year, 2009, 123000 hectares of lands were under poppy cultivation;
In the year, 2010, 123000 hectares of lands were under poppy cultivation.
The statistics shown above indicate decrease in cultivation of narcotics in last two years, and counter-narcotics ministry expects a decrease in poppy cultivation in 2011.
However, researchers who have completed their research on narcotics’ problems believe that with view to rise in price of narcotics in last year, increase would come in cultivation of poppy in 2011.
“Last year, Mafia’s stocks were full of drugs in Afghanistan so the poppy cultivation was in its lowest level and in the current year due to high price of drugs in the world, the poppy cultivation level would get increased” said Dad Nurani, an afghan researcher who concluded his research on narcotics in Afghanistan.
Officials in the ministry of counternarcotics also expressed their concerns over an increase in the level of poppy cultivation in the country.
Currently, 20 provinces of Afghanistan are free of poppy cultivation, and poppy cultivation in four to five provinces are about to move to zero, a spokesman with ministry of counternarcotics, Abdul Qayyum Samer said.
He indicated a natural disaster as a factor caused the opium cultivation collapsed last year and the production of opium affected badly by the natural disaster was in its lowest level, he stated.
According to Samer, due to the decrease in production of drugs, the price went up, because expenditure was stable and demand went up.
“The price of drugs doubled meaning a kilo of narcotics cost $95 while it went up to $ 280 this year and this increase in price resulted in moving of poppy cultivation to zero in a number of provinces including eastern Ghor”, he added.
An official in the ministry of counter- narcotics who was speaking to Suboot News agency in condition of anonymity stated that, till mid of 1389(2010) one kilo of opium at markets of Afghanistan was available at cost of 8000 AFN while this price in third quarter of 1389 has gone up to 25000 AFN.
“Last year, 123 hectares of lands were under poppy cultivation of which we destroyed 2000 hectares” Samer stated.
With view to the figures given above, we can say the outputs came from destruction of lands cultivated with poppy opium and conduction of the counternarcotics campaigns through various government agencies and spending of millions of dollars in this regard aren’t more than %2.
Various counter- narcotics governmental administrations and failure of Afghan government
In 2001, after Taliban were toppled from the power, Afghan government launched its preliminary steps regarding counter -narcotics campaign which has gradually become wide and the afghan government step by step established counter-narcotics agencies including counter-narcotics deputy ministration in the ministry of interior affairs then it created the ministry of counter -narcotics..
Funded by international donors, the ministry of counter- narcotics has created its relevant directorates in different provinces of Afghanistan so that its organizational structure became wide.
However, the officials with the ministry of counter-narcotics refused to give us information regarding the ministry’s organizational structure and the big amounts spent by them.
“Documents of amounts that have been spent during past several years on fighting against narcotics in Afghanistan do not exist anymore” he stated.
Officials with counter-narcotics ministry indicate to a link between increase in cultivation of poppy and lack of security in Afghanistan
According to the spokesman of counter -narcotics,” there is a direct link between drugs and insecurity and terrorism and most of the fields under cultivation of narcotics are located in insecure provinces of the country, and opium is not cultivated in the secure provinces”
Fighting against drugs brings no positive results, and the problem of drugs in Afghanistan will not end if security is not insured in the country, he added.
Drug use and narcotics revenue
Dad Noorani an afghan researcher, relying on various figures given by creditable world institutions expressed his points of view as follows:
“Worldwide, annually 5000 tons of opium is used of which 1 is used on daily bases in Tehran, the capital of neighboring Iran, and annual expenditure of narcotics in Afghanistan is either $60 billion or $400 billion” he said
“13000 tons of Chemical materials are imported from southern borders to Afghanistan.
Total amount of narcotics going out from Afghanistan:
- 40% from borders with Pakistan, 30% from borders with Iran, 30% from northern borders of the country
- 60% of drugs are used in the region and the rest 40% of drugs in European and American countries.
- Delivery channels of narcotics from Afghanistan:
- There are 121 non-transit and 8 transit delivery channels through which narcotics are taken out of Afghanistan.”
- 14% of afghan farmers grow opium and 200 thousand people distribute narcotics in the country.
However, officials of counternarcotics ministry didn’t get ready to give figures about those who have been involved in cultivation, production and trafficking of narcotics in Afghanistan.
“No figures have been given about those involved in cultivation, production and trafficking of narcotics in the country and the narcotics’ affiliated individuals should be arrested by counter-narcotics deputy ministration of interior ministry that is why we don’t have responsibility to recognize the identity of those involved in narcotic-related matters” the spokesman with the ministry of counter- narcotics said.
However counter-narcotic deputy ministration of interior ministry refused to respond the questions;
The figures given by Noorani are described as follows;
The level of revenue from narcotics based on percentage: expensive internal distribution is 1% , regional Mafia in neighboring Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Russia 6.5% and world wide Mafia 92. 5 %
According to US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Holbrook, US has annually spent 700 billion USD in counternarcotics campaign till 1388, the afghan year.
Noorani gave fantastic figures on channels through which narcotics are being trafficked to different countries of the world.
According to him, narcotics are trafficked from south western province of Nimroz and Qala-e Qah and Jawin districts of western Farah province to southeastern Zahidan of neighboring Iran through Robbat ways ending to Zahidan.
Increase in number of addicts and the afghan government’s inabilities
Since 2001 till now the number of addicts has annually got increased and currently there are 1 million addicts in Afghanistan.
Worldwide there are 200 million addicts to narcotics among them from 8 to 16 million live in Russia and the death toll of those abusing narcotics is annually 30 thousand people in Russia.
In Iran: 3.5 million people got addicted to heroin and more than 6 million to opium and in Turkmenistan there are two million addicted to narcotics.
The spokesman with the counter-narcotics ministry regarding the number of addicts and capacity for their recovery stated: “unfortunately we have approximately 1 million addicts of whom 5% use drugs inside Afghanistan and our capacity for their recovery is 1%”
“Currently we have nearly 47 recovery centers having 20 to 50 beds including the recovery centers run by UNODC, Colombo Plan, and ministry of public health in coordination with counter-narcotics ministry, however all these centers can cover 1% of addicts in the country” he added.
Beside of increase in the number of addicted throughout the country, it is very easy to get access to narcotics all over the country even in capital Kabul 2 Kilo miters to presidential palace.
The spokesman for the ministry of counter-narcotics said:” if every addict pays a dollar for abuse of drugs he/she will annually pay 360 dollar while the growers and smugglers who profit from the revenue of drugs costing 56 billion USD would receive 500 million USD”
Although, hundreds of addicts can be seen under bridges such Pol-e Surkh bridge, Pol-e Artal Bridge or in tens of other public sites and it is natural that they receive their needed drugs from mysterious distributing networks of drugs, the government do nothing for collection of addicts and for their introduction to recovery centers.
Experts see if afghan government prioritorizes the counter- narcotics process, it should arrest distributers of drugs instead of collecting drug abusers from their sites where they abuse drugs.
“Easily access to drugs in Afghanistan is one of the primary problem concerning us that is the easily access would cause increase in the number of addicts” Samir said.
We are working on counter- trafficking policy in collaboration with interior, defense, justice ministries and other concerned entities and based on that policy we can bring to justice small and big drug traffickers” he added
Local Medias have conducted many interviews with the counternarcotics ministry in regard to easily access to drugs but no practical work has been done so far.
According to Samir, the ministry of counter- narcotics is a policy maker entity and the implementation and endorsement of laws are the responsibility of other entities.
However, officials at counter -narcotics deputy ministration refused to have interview with Suboot News Agency.
Prison for Small Drug Dealers:
The Afghan government created a center called “ Criminal Justice Task Force” based on the order of the president and the counter narcotics law in 1384 [2004-05]the structure of which is as following:
The Department of Investigation and Assessment of Narcotics which is related to the Ministry of Interior Affairs
Special Attorney Office which is related to the General Attorney Office of the country
Primary and appeal courts related to the Supreme Court of the country
The authorities of this center include addressing cases related to small volumes of drugs as following:
Two kilograms of heroin
10 kilograms of opium
50 kilograms of chemical material used in the combination of drugs
50 kilograms of hashish
50 liters of alcohol
However, the center only has information about arrest and trial of smugglers in 1388 and 1389 [2009-2010] and it cannot present information about previous years.
Sayed Masud Alam, acting head of the press department of Criminal Justice Task Force (CJTF) said that in 1389 [2010-11] two soldiers were arrested in western Herat Province for charges of drug dealing and then, Brig General Molhem, commander of the fourth brigade of border police in Western Zone was also arrested and trialed for involvement in drug dealing based on the testimony of the two soldiers and that all the three serve a period of imprisonment currently.
According to Alam, eight foreigners were arrested during the first eight months of 1389  and one foreign national was sentenced for punishment.
Masud Alam said that in 1388, 395 cases of 502 accused individuals were referred to the investigation and assessment department of the CJTF and after the completion of investigations, the mentioned department has sent these cases to the directorate of special attorney office of the CJTF.
According to him, the attorney office has submitted 275 cases to the primary court, 314 cases to the appeal court and 362 cases to the high court of the country after assessing them.
In the primary court, 440 accused have been sentenced for punishment and 41 others have been identified innocent because of lack of sufficient evidences and documents. The sentenced individuals totally included seven foreigners, eight women and 21 public service officials. The foreigners currently imprisoned come from Iran, Pakistan, South Africa and some other countries.
Elm Parast said that during the first eight months of 1389 solar, 310 cases of 418 accused individuals were received by CJTF. After the cases were addressed in the respective courts, the following results were obtained:
In the primary court, 444 individuals were sentenced and 21 others were identified to be innocent. In the appeal court, 386 individuals were sentenced and 12 others were known innocent. In 1388 and 1389 years, Helmand Province has had the most number of cases.
Also, General Nur Mohammad Zazai, general director of investigations and laboratory of the counter narcotics police said that in 1388, more than 400 cases and in 1389 about 500 cases were received by the Criminal Justice Task Force (CJTF).
He added that in 1389, one major smuggler was arrested in the north and that his case is being investigate currently. Nur Mohammad, however, refused to disclose the smuggler's name. While he refused to disclose the names again, he said that in 1389, a general of border police in the western zone was sentenced for punishment in this center.
The officials said that among the arrested individuals, except the latter two, whose names were not mentioned, other government officials or their relatives were not included. This is at a time when the world media have reported involvement of high ranking government officials and even relatives of the president in drug trafficking.
Prisoners regard themselves innocent
A person, who is imprisoned in Pol-e Charkhi prison and refused to disclose his name, said that he was imprisoned for having smuggled acid. He told his story like this "I was arrested by the national security officials in Kabul two years ago while going to my shop. The first accusation against me was having relations with the Taleban, but the directorate of national security in Kabul could not prove this accusation after one month of investigations. This time, they accused me of kidnapping and it was not proved either. The national security wrote nullification of detention in my file, but instead of the implementation of nullification of my detention, I was introduced to the legal and judicial court for counter narcotics and I was accused of smuggling drugs. The primary legal and judicial court for counter narcotics identified me as innocent, but despite the order of the primary court regarding my innocence, I was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the second court. Before this, two individuals called Zemarai and Hasibollah were arrested with some acid in the Kabul International Airport and they attached this accusation also to me saying I import acid from abroad. My family lives in Pakistan. During the Taleban regime, my father and brother were killed by someone in Jalalabad and the same person was involved in the case of my arrest by the national security. He had introduced me to the national security in place of somebody else. I saw the same person on the day of my arrest in the directorate of national security. I saw him again after my detention was nullified. By paying money to some institutions and individuals, he caused my file to be sent to the legal and judicial court for counter narcotics without any evidence. My main enemy is in Jalalabad and works in a very high government position."
Another prisoner, who was also arrested for smuggling drugs in the Kabul International Airport, told Soboot Agency regarding the cause of his imprisonment "I was arrested in front of the apartment buildings of the Kabul International Airport 10 months ago. I knew a person from Herat called Sayid. On the day of the incident, Sayid wanted to travel to India. I gave him a lift to the airport. After he was arrested in the airport, the police also arrested me in front of the apartment buildings of the airport. Sayid was arrested with over two kilograms of heroin in the airport and I was arrested for being a partner in the crime. They considered 10 years of imprisonment for me in the first trial, but this period was increased to 13 years in the second trial."
Among the prisoners, who reside in Pol-e Charkhi prison on charges of drug trafficking, some foreign nationals are also included. Some of them made interesting statements in their interviews.
Aslan son of Ysar from Turkey is another prisoner who serves in the Pol-e Charkhi prison of Kabul. He said "I was arrested in Islam Qala Custom in Herat three years ago on 26 Feb 2008. There was a person in the Islam Qala Custom called Bashir who owned a shop and I bought my needs from him sometimes. We knew each other for this reason. Bashir gave me a package saying there are some items inside the package. My brother is waiting in the Iranian custom on the other side of the border. Please hand it over to him. I trusted him because of our former friendship and took the package from him and put it in the car. The Afghan government custom officials found the package while searching the vehicle. They arrested me then. I was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment."
Amir Hussein Shahrodi from Iran, who is a prisoner in Pol-e Charkhi prison in Kabul, said "I was arrested in Herat city 18 months ago. Four Afghan custom officials, whom I knew before, had placed three packages of opium in my vehicle. I was arrested with all these three packages with a total weight of 50 kilograms that day. When my file was referred to the court, they sentenced me to 16 years imprisonment. They also confiscated my trailer truck."
I worked for an Iranian freight forwarding company and I had commuted in Afghanistan for seven to eight months. In order to go through some administrative work, we needed to visit the custom as well. There were people who cooperated with us. The Islam Qala police introduced four custom officials, who were all brothers, to me and I performed my administrative works in the custom through these four brothers. I trusted these brothers. I was not aware on the day of the incident that they had placed the package in my vehicle. It was in the custom when I found out about presence of the packages. I had another vehicle with me that day as well which was also confiscated by the police and then released since they found nothing in it. I would transport goods purchased from Iran into Afghanistan for the Afghan traders and my commuting route was from Tehran to Herat."
Sarwar Rasuli, a resident of Mashhad, Iran, is another prisoner in the Pol-e Charkhi prison in Kabul. He said "On 1-12-1387, I was arrested from the house of individuals called Gol Ahmad and Nabi with 20 kilograms of opium in Torghondi, Herat. I had come to Herat from Zabol, Iran five days before my arrest with individuals called Ghafar and Rasul. We stayed in Herat for two nights and then went to Torghondi. We stayed in a house for three other nights in Torghondi. They arrested me from the same house after three nights."
I received my high school certificate from Mashhad. During school, I was a member of mobilization of the students. After that, I served in the army for two years. I completed my military service in Mashhad. I was released from military service on 10-87 and stayed in Mashhad for a month. Then, I came to Afghanistan and was arrested.
One day, I met Ghafar and Rasul, who both had Iranian IDs, on a day of sightseeing. We continued our friendship for about four months. We then went to Zabol after four months and from there, we came to Afghanistan for sightseeing based on my request. On the first two nights, we stayed in the houses of the two individuals' relatives. Then, we went to Torghondi and stayed in the house of people called Gol Ahmad and Nabi for three nights. We were arrested there. At the time of the arrest, the police found 20 kilograms of opium in the house which I was unaware of until that moment."
Mohammad Sediq is a Pakistani national serving in Pol-e Charkhi prison in Kabul currently. He said "I was arrested in Helmand nine months ago on charges of smuggling drugs, but my smuggling case was closed because of lack of evidence. The second accusation against me was being a Taleban member and I do not know what happened to this case. We are 10 people arrested in different places. We currently reside in the prison with uncertain destiny. I traded rice in Bahramshah area and had come to Afghanistan for work."
Ambiguities in statements of prisoners
It is obvious for everybody that any accused person, even if his crime is obvious to some extent, regards himself as innocent. These prisoners regard themselves as innocent as well. But it is worth of mentioning that none of the major smugglers, who have been mentioned in the reports of credible media outlets in the world, are included among these prisoners. General Molhem is the only famous person among the prisoners who refused to give an interview.
Major Smugglers, Relaxed and Carefree
In 2008, credible world media outlets including the New York Times wrote in a report that Ahmad Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamed Karzai in Kandahar Province, was directly involved in heavy drug trafficking.
According to the New York Times, a tractor loaded with drugs was seized by the police but it was released along with the arrested individuals based on an order from Ahmad Wali Karzai.
In those days, the Kabul Weekly also interviewed Ahmad Wali Karzai because of the report in the New York Times and other media outlets but he strongly denied any kind of his involvement in drug dealing saying I will complain about the reporters of the media outlets for writing baseless reports about me, but nothing has been mentioned about the destiny of the case yet.
The Bost-e Bastan News Agency has written in its newsletter of 19 Hoot of last year that Dawud Ahmadi, spokesman of the Helmand governor, has indirectly accepted involvement of some government officials in drug dealing saying "Some police commanders involved in the production and smuggling of drugs in the districts of the province were arrested last year."
Also, Colonel Habib, a landlord in Helmand Province confirmed that drugs were always trafficked by the Afghan military forces and even Ranger vehicles during the past years.
However, among the individuals, who are imprisoned in the biggest prison in Afghanistan, the Pol-e Charkhi, you can only see one or two high ranking government officials.
Also, among the files and cases piled by the legal and judicial center for counter narcotics or among the files sent to the respective courts by the center, there are no files of high ranking officials present except a few of them whose names were not mentioned.
Nurani further said that among the famous smugglers arrested by the Americans, one is called Hajji Joma, who was arrested in Indonesia with 400 kilograms of heroin and was taken to the US, and later on Washington Post wrote that he was a CIA spy himself.
Based on the accusations made by the foreign media and local experts with regard to the involvement of high ranking government officials and their relatives in drug trafficking, the public thinks that major smugglers live carefree while the prison doors wait for smaller smugglers with who lack relations with senior officials.
The role of foreigners in Afghanistan's drugs
Credible media outlets have reported about the involvement of foreign governments such as the UK, Iran and Pakistan in the reinforcement of production and trafficking of drugs in Afghanistan several times.
UK's role in drug trafficking in Afghanistan
Famous writer and political expert, Dad Nurani confirms huge incomes of the British government from trafficking of opium in Helmand Province saying "Based on articles published in some western papers, UK has made three billion dollars income from trafficking opium in Helmand Province each year for the past two years."
He said that there are evidences which show that the Brits are involved in drug trafficking in Helmand Province. He said that the destiny of the hundreds of tons of opium seized by foreign forces annually is not clear and nobody knows where they disappear. Besides, convoys of drug with 60 to 70 vehicles pass nearby the bases of the British forces with 200 to 300 armed men in Helmand Province without any obstacles.
Nurani added "Based on the book "War and Peace", when the US and UK had forces in Iraq, the Brits made less incomes from the Iraqi petroleum than the Americans. Therefore, they withdrew from this country earlier and increased the number of their soldiers in Helmand Province and currently, this country is making the most income from the opium business in Helmand Province."
Some experts believe that the Brits are partners of the Taleban in this regard. Dad Nurani said that we must not relate the Taleban's presence with opium cultivation, because opium is cultivated also in provinces where the Taleban are not present.
Mr. Shershah Yusofzai, an Afghan expert has also told some news websites that he doubts UK's honesty in terms of counter narcotics in Afghanistan. Regarding cooperation with the Taleban, he has said "I am an eyewitness. When I passed through the poppy fields in Helmand Province last year, British soldiers were sitting inside the poppy fields with Afghan style and bushy beards. They had big teapots in front of them and were drinking tea with an Afghan who had cultivated poppy."
Earlier, President Hamed Karzai had also considered the UK as the main responsible behind the revitalizing of the Taleban. He declared that with its decisions and actions, the UK has handed over Helmand Province over to major drug traffickers and the Taleban.
The Bost-e Bastan News Agency has written in its newsletter of 19 Hoot of last year "Some foreign forces have also been arrested on charges of drug trafficking in Afghanistan recently such as a British engineer who worked for the American forces who has been sentenced to five year imprisonment for trafficking one kilogram heroin."
This opinion also exists that the foreign forces present in Afghanistan fund the huge costs of the war through the incomes of the sale of drugs.
According to experts, Afghanistan is currently witnessing a repetition of the opium war which happened in China in 1844.
In 1844, the UK organized the five year opium war in China and now this country is present in Helmand Province which is the biggest source of drug production in Afghanistan.
According to experts, the UK has taken control of the province in a way that it not only prevents presence of other foreign forces in the province for counter narcotics but has also caused the defeat of the anti terrorism policy.
Pakistan's role in the narcotics problem in Afghanistan
According to senior government officials, around 90 per cent of the chemical materials needed for processing of drugs in Afghanistan is imported through the borders of this country with Pakistan.
Dad Nurani said that tens or even hundreds of small drug production factories exist in the border areas of Pakistan. Shinwar District in a bordering point between Nangarhar Province and Pakistan is among the most important areas for drug trafficking.
Iran plays a bigger role
Reasons behind Iran's interferences:
Despite the lengthy and wide intelligence structure of Iran, one ton opium is transported to Tehran on a daily basis.
An expert writes that during the past two years, the Iranian government has unofficially come to an understanding that it should transit drugs so that it will on one hand strengthen its country's economy and to take the war which is thought to be in process against Iran to Europe. Therefore, drug mafia is present inside the Iranian government and army.
Nurani said that another reason which proves involvement of Iran in drug trafficking is that it releases major drug traffickers against money. He stated "Drugs are taken to Iran by three routes: 1. Through land where 40 to 50 people carry a few kilograms of drugs each and walk from Robat to Sheraz for 40 days; 2. In 50 to 100 vehicle convoys; 3. Through the air; Therefore, it is impossible to think that the Iranian government cannot detect it.
Soboot News Agency has obtained a documentary made by a Canadian documentary filmmaker which is about the sub-ways of drug trafficking to Iran. In this film, it is obviously watched how multiple member caravans of drug traffickers take drugs from the Afghan borders to Iran.
The film also shows that the drug dealers in different parts of Afghanistan have control of small armed groups which they use if necessary and the drugs are transported by these individuals. In this film, the small drug production factories in border areas, the way how opium and heroin are processed and other similar things have also been filmed.
Regarding the involvement of Iranian government officials in drug trafficking and the routes for this purpose, Dad Nurani said that most drugs are trafficked into Iran through the Musa Abad port in Herat in the west. This area finally creates a pathway in its border with Turkmenistan. The Iranian government has built a wall from Tasuki and Lotak to nearby areas to Shaghali port in Farah and has dug a trench next to the wall which makes it impossible to pass through. However, some specific areas have been left open for the army to pass and control drug trafficking.
Also, an Afghan expert, who preferred to remain anonymous in this report, said "The Iranian intelligence officially has a responsibility to promote drug cultivation and to support its cultivation in Afghanistan. The intelligence then transports the drugs to their own country using different and special methods and then exports them to the European countries and Canada. Iran makes billions of dollars income from this source annually."
He said that the Iranian intelligence plays 60 per cent of the role in cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs in Afghanistan. It means that 60 per cent of Afghanistan's drugs are exported to the world through Iran. If Iran prevents the smuggling of this 60 per cent drugs on its borders, cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs will immediately drop by 60 per cent in Afghanistan. He said that Iran has two unofficial reasons for this activity.
- By exporting drugs to European and American countries, Iran destroys these countries by corrupting their societies and disrupting family systems in the west.
- The money made from the business is then provided for destructive groups and forces inside Afghanistan and they fund projects through which they attack the culture here. They also use this money in Iraq and Lebanon. They use all the money they make this way against the international community and the USA.
World media have also reported about the support of the Iranian Guardian Army for cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs.
The Iran Site, reports and information, wrote on 02 January of the ongoing year "After Ahmadinezhad's statements in 87 regarding the detection of a major gang of cigar smugglers, and the lead given by the Rajanews that the mentioned gang was controlled by Mohsen Reza'i and the reaction of the army and Khamena'i's family against Ahmadinezhad and the removal of chief executive officer of the Taha Taheri tobacco company (Masud Sadr-al-Islam) who was later on introduced as a criminal in the Kahrizak murders, it was clarified that not only smuggle of cigar but also drug trafficking is among the most important income sources of the army."
According to an informed source, the main program of the army for ensuring its internal financial sources, has been drug trafficking which is not limited to smuggling cigars but also includes the drug dealing network of the country. This source said that the reason behind turning to drug dealing by the army is that the secret operations of the army are costly on one hand and that the army is practically responsible of pursuing strategic and costly programs of the system on the other.
After 12 million dollars worth drugs were discovered in Indonesia which was smuggled by eight Iranian women with veils, it was clarified that this operation was conducted from the air borders of Iran and origins in Syria, Qatar and Malaysia to Indonesia. It is worth of mentioning that control of Imam Khomeni's airport by the army with the pretext of national security has been done for the control of these drugs and the major mafia gang.
In 2005, the government of Ecuador announced that the profit of an international network of smuggling in this country was received by Hezbollah. Ecuador announced that the smuggling network made more than one million dollars of income from each drug consignment from which 70% was received by Hezbollah in Lebanon. After the investigations, it was clarified that Hezbollah of Lebanon is only one branch of the big mafia gang of the Iranian army.
In October 2008, the Turkish government discovered and seized a cash consignment of the Iranian army worth of 18.5 million dollars. This consignment was transported by Ismail Safarian son of Abbas who was born in 1337 and was a member of the army and the reason for exporting this amount of capital was that it was predicted that the situation in Iran will deteriorate due to a planned coup by the guardian army.
Also, the Shahin website wrote on 29 January 2011:
A few months ago, when 25 members of a major drug dealing network were arrested in Azerbaijan Republic, at least eight of them were local employees of the Islamic Republic embassy in Baku who admitted to have memberships in foreign activities of the guardian army and their identity cards also proved this matter. Meanwhile, the government of the Islamic Republic emphasized on the return of these accused individuals to Tehran to sentence them to the harshest punishments and even promised to execute them. The government in Baku finally handed over the accused to Tehran, but the individuals were once again arrested in Azerbaijan a while ago and the coalition of the Islamic Republic's army and embassies with major drug trafficking to Europe became more obvious than in the past.
In a report of the experts of the green Iran, it reads: The adventure began when satellite photos showed a 15 per cent increase in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan but miscellaneous supply of drugs in local markets of the country had decreased by 60 per cent. This issue showed that a major buyer has entered the purchase and distribution field of drugs in Afghanistan which has the political and economic facilities of conducting the corrupt business.
Further investigations showed that the guardian army is the major buyer of Afghanistan's opium and by using two air and ground big networks of smuggling; it makes billions of dollars of income. For this reason, two equipped laboratories of heroin production were established in Gonabad and Gonbad Kawus and the third laboratory was established in Azarshehr.
The first smuggling group delivered the produced drugs through Khorasan to Tajikistan and then by using big bags stamped diplomatic, it would be sent to Bucharest and Cyprus. The second network too used buses and delivered drugs from Khorasan and northern provinces to Azerbaijan and then delivered it from Azerbaijan to Europe through land routes.
Existing documents show that the two routes were used from several years ago and since 2006 they have delivered drug consignments of 500 kilograms through the air and consignments of one ton through land lines to Europe. For this reason, the level of smuggling of opium to Europe through Azerbaijan increased to 10 tons in 2009. And in 2010, the guardian army broke its record and was able to smuggle 2,800 kilograms of drugs through the air and 19 tons of drugs through land routes to the European Union. According to the estimations made by economic experts, the profits made from smuggling this quantity of drugs are more than 4.5 billion dollars.
In addition, in issue number 21 of a German paper, The Wealth on Friday, based on some diplomatic documents disclosed by the WikiLeaks website, an article was written about drug dealing and the Islamic Republic of Iran's key role in it.
The Wealth has written that based on a confidential telegram sent on 12 June 2009 by the US embassy in Baku, 20 kilograms of heroin delivered from Iran to Azerbaijan was seized in 2006. But three years later, the quantity of the drugs has increased incredibly and only during the first three months of 2009, about 59 tons of heroin has been seized in Azerbaijan.
The telegram which quotes confidential reports of UN investigators has further written, Azerbaijan is one of the main routes for export of the heroin which is obtained from opium in Afghanistan. This heroin goes from Azerbaijan to Western Europe. The American diplomats have pointed in the mentioned documents that Iran is the main buyer of Afghanistan's opium and one of the first producers of heroin in the world.
The Wealth publication has added that based on another diplomatic telegram on 26 September 2009, about 95% of the existing heroin in Azerbaijan is imported from Iran and approximately the same quantity of heroin is exported towards the Western European markets.
Another telegram on 15 October 2009 has quoted the former deputy foreign minister of Azerbaijan; Khalaf Khalafov as saying smuggling is conducted by security services of Iran. According to Mr. Khalafov, whenever the Azerbaijani officials arrest Iranian smugglers and return them to their own country to be punished, they are soon released again.
The former deputy foreign minister of Azerbaijan has added "In some cases, we even arrest individuals again whom we have recently arrested and handed over to Iran."
Based on the mentioned evidences, Afghan officials have also informed their Azerbaijani peers that the Iranian security forces cooperate with Afghan smugglers.
Other diplomatic telegrams which have been published by the WikiLeaks read that by conducting secret investigative measures, the Azerbaijani officials have noticed that some security officials of the Iranian forces are directly involved in the sales and processing of opium into heroin. About five months ago, the Iranian ambassador in the UN, Mohammad Khaza'i confirmed that 89 % of world opium is produced in Afghanistan and "the greatest part of this production is smuggled through the Iranian borders."
However, Mohammad Khaza'i has added that Tehran has allocated billion dollar budgets for counter narcotics as well.
Taking into consideration the mentioned matters, the following conclusions could be obtained:
- Ever since the Taleban government was overthrown, cultivation, production and smuggling of drugs have increased and the despite millions of dollars of expenses, reports of which have not been published, the Afghan government has always failed and without spending huge budgets and giving human lives, it has achieved nothing.
- One major reason which has caused the Afghan government's failure has been dishonesty of the neighboring countries in their words and actions and inattention of the US government in the area of counter narcotics, because NATO military commanders have said: We do not have the responsibility of counter narcotics.
Also, Holbrooke had said last year that the US does not invest in counter narcotics in Afghanistan anymore, because they have no other alternative for the poor Afghan farmers.
- Because of the inconspicuous supports for major smugglers, the doors of prisons are open for retailers and small drug dealers while the big drug dealers continue their work for different reasons which have a positive impact on the promotion of cultivation, production and smuggling of drugs.
- Interferences of the neighboring countries show that these countries and even countries like the UK, which receive the main benefit and profit of drugs, have created a major obstacle in the efforts for fighting against this calamitous phenomenon and, therefore, all the efforts of the Afghan government fail to succeed.
- According to the spokesman of the Ministry of Counter Narcotics, there are hands in the borders which work for drugs with no doubt and the phenomenon of narcotics is an international phenomenon. There are some groups which force the farmers to cultivate poppy. And thee 1,300 tons of chemicals needed for drug processing is imported from abroad which also shows that there are hands that are involved in the production and smuggling of drugs.
In this condition, it does not seem probable that the Afghan government will be capable of controlling the expanding drug problem or take measures to avoid addiction in the country with its weak infrastructures.