Afghan Drugs Flood Uzbekistan

by Laurence on 9/23/2004

from IRIN:

Since the overthrow of the Taliban – who banned poppy cultivation in Afghanistan – at the end of 2001, the level of heroin transiting through southern Uzbekistan has been increasing as Afghan opium output has reached new highs. The increase is leading to new security and health problems in the unstable former Soviet republic.
In Surkhandarya province, bordering Afghanistan, heroin seizures and drug-related crimes have been rising steadily over the past two years. Last year, the provincial anti-narcotics authorities arrested more than 650 people in connection with drug trafficking, up from 500 just 12 months ago. According to a representative of the Interior Ministry, Rustam Togaev, a big heroin haul of 92 kg was found in the frontier zone of Sariasi district in February.
“There are more crimes connected with drugs in Denus, Sarias and Uzun districts. They also take place in the [border] city of Termez,” Ismatullo Choriev, the secretary of the provincial commission on drug control, said. “More drug crimes are observed in Termez, and they are increasing,” he stated.
“When the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, we used to seize several kilograms of heroin per week,” Shavkat Esanov of the Baisun Interior Ministry department said. “We expected a decrease of drug trafficking after American troops were brought into Afghanistan, but we witness the opposite. In March for example, a large batch of heroin – 37 kg – was discovered at the ‘Chak-chak’ post.”

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