Newsbrief: Afghan Government Concedes It Includes Traffickers 5/21/04

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As the Afghan opium crop moves toward another record harvest this year, and US officials warn darkly that the trade is filling the coffers of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, a high official of the US-backed Afghan government of Hamid Karzai has admitted that the traffickers and their supporters are part of the regime. Corrupt officials and regional warlords, who prop up the weak Karzai government, are threatening to engulf the nation's economy and turn it into a "narcostate," Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali told a Kabul press conference May 13.

"I can't tell you particularly who is doing what, but generally I can say, yes, we have proof that government officials, including security officials, are involved in drug trafficking," said Jalali, according to an account in the Washington Times. Government officials either protect the trade for a cut in the profits or are directly involved, he said.

"In some parts, criminals are supported by those who have power," he said, referring to regional warlords such as Abdul Rostum who hold sway over large parts of the country. "In some cases, we have been able to identify and arrest them; in other cases, we have not been able to capture them." That is too often because of corruption, he said. "Unfortunately in Afghanistan administrative corruption is one of our main problems."

And if the Afghan government is doing what it can to flood the streets of Europe with cheap heroin, the Russians announced this week they will assist by removing their troops from the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, where some 20,000 of them have fought the cross-border drug traffic since entering the country to maintain stability after a civil war that ended in 1997.

"We are pulling out of Tajikistan in general," First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacjeslav Trubnikov told Nezavisimaya Gazeta. "The result will be a porous border. Porous means drugs. The Americans are not happy with this," Trubnikov said. "They know that things get past us at the moment, so the drugs traffic will spread further."

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Issue #338, 5/21/04 Editorial: Benefit of the Doubt | Vermont Becomes Ninth State to Legalize Medical Marijuana – Other States See Progress and Setbacks | Not With a Bang but a Whimper: California Pain Doctor Frank Fisher Exonerated in Last Criminal Case | Needle Exchange in New Jersey? Atlantic City Says Yes, Attorney General Says No | Dope and Diplomacy in Dublin: European Union Conference Tries to Lay Groundwork for Continental Drug Strategy | Announcing: "The New Prohibition: Voices of Dissent Challenge the Drug War" – New Compendium by Sheriff Masters Features David Borden and Numerous Other Thinkers on Drug Policy | Newsbrief: New Jersey Student Sues Over Drug Tests, Expulsion | Newsbrief: Drug War Invades Ultimate Frisbee | Newsbrief: One in 11 US Prisoners Doing Life, Study Finds | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Bill to Reform Harsh Tennessee Marijuana Sales Law Dies Lonely Death | Newsbrief: Afghan Government Concedes It Includes Traffickers | Newsbrief: Rural Maryland Cops Force Students to Disrobe During Drug Raid | Web Scan: Ron Paul, Mayor Campbell, Westword, Nature, ACLU-TX Task Force Report, New DPFMA Web Site | Job Opportunity – Research Assistant, Office of Legal Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance, Oakland, California | The Reformer's Calendar

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