Commander of the anti-narcotics squad of Iran’s Law Enforcement Police General Ali Moayyedi underlined that the poor performance of the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has resulted in a steady rise in drug production in Afghanistan.
SHAFAQNA– Moscow, The heads of anti-narcotics bodies of the Caspian Sea littoral states convened a session in Astarakhan, Russia on Thursday on the sidelines of Fourth Caspian Sea Summit.
The participants of the meeting underlined the need for cooperation in fighting drug trafficking.
The representatives of Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran exchanged views on improvement and strengthening of a practical five-lateral cooperation.
‘Despite the efforts made by the Afghan government and the international community, the problem of narcotics still persists,’ General Moayyedi said, addressing the annual meeting of the heads of the anti-drug organizations of the Caspian Sea littoral states in Astarakhan.
He noted that a report published by the UN Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) published in 2013 poppy cultivation and drug production showed 36% and 49% increase, respectively, while unofficial reports in 2014 also indicate a surge in both cultivation and production of narcotics in Afghanistan.
‘In other words, this rise means intensified trafficking and spread of trans-national organized crimes, insecurity, deepening irreparable damages to the human society and disrupting sustainable development,’ General Moayyedi added.
He reiterated that the world is in a worrying situation, adding, ‘This situation for the regional countries, including Iran, means sustaining further human and material losses.’
General Moayyedi criticized the NATO’s performance in Afghanistan, and said, ‘Poppy cultivation and organized crimes have soared due to the lack of shared responsibility, especially the lack of development programs, for controlling drug cultivation and preventing organized crimes.
Iran lies on a transit corridor between opium producing Afghanistan and drug dealers in Europe.
The Islamic Republic has emerged as the leading country fighting drug trafficking after making 85 percent of the world’s total opium seizures.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has lost more than 4,000 of its security forces in its war against drug smuggling.
Over the past five years, it has contributed more than $50 million annually to Afghan anti-narcotics efforts.
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 13 years ago.