29 April 2008

Drugs for Guns: how the Heroin Trade Fuels the Taliban Insurgency

Independent article claims that drugs are exchanged for arms parts in Tajikistan. It gets confused in places, alleging that it is the Russian mafia that is behind everything. Which? Would be my first question. Sounds more like Tajik middlemen and there is no clear evidence given of who they deal with, or that the heroin is bound for the UK, as alleged elsewhere in the piece.
It's a great travellers tale. Three smugglers tell you about this deserted village where 300 shopkeepers sit around courtyards dealing arms parts for heroin....Mmmmm, out of the Arabian Nights? Given that there are insurgents allied to al Qaeda roaming the Tajik border areas, I cant imagine many Russians on the loose round there. Still it fits in nicely with the earlier posts from Helmand. Maybe the US marines should be looking at the Tajik border a little more closely?

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