#39 - JRL 2009-230 - JRL Home
Afghanistan Produces Twice as Much Heroin as Whole World Did 10 Yrs Ago - Official

YEKATERINBURG, Russia. Nov 16 (Interfax) - Afghanistan produces twice as much heroin today as the whole world did 10 years ago, the head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service said on Wednesday, arguing that continuous hostilities are preventing Afghan peasants from regular farming and forcing them to grow drug-producing crops to make a living.

"The reason (for the massive drug production) apparently lies in the alarming military and political situation in Afghanistan, with is caused by the ongoing escalation of foreign military presence, which, in turn, is giving rise to growing resistance from the local population," Viktor Ivanov told a conference.

"Analysts all over the world say that, in effect, action against terrorism, which was declared by the United States of America in 2001, has gradually been converted to action against the rebels. The Afghan people are unifying in resisting foreign presence. This is inevitably preventing the peasantry from cultivating useful agricultural crops because, with battles going on all the time, it's impossible to grow, transport, market and sale produce. And it is representatives of the drug mafia who come to pick up the opium poppy," he said.

Citing a report by U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones to Congress, Ivanov said there remain less than 100 members of international militant network Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

"Analysts calculate that this means that one rebel, one member of Al Qaeda, is confronted today by 1,500 armed members of the coalition forces and $300 million is spent yearly to kill him," Ivanov said.

"It is, of course, a completely inadequate situation, because terrorism must obviously be fought by precision methods, with the use of intelligence networks and technical devices but by no means by regular armed forces. Unfortunately, (use of regular troop) has the side effect of tremendous production of drugs, and the traffic is heading for our country," he said.

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