Tag Archive: Iran

Hundreds of drug users from Iran are turning up in Afghanistan’s western Nimroz province, with some claiming they were dumped there as undesirables by police from their own country.

Afghan officials worry that Tehran is exporting its social problems, although Iranian diplomats say there is no such policy. Others say that at least some drug users congregate in Afghanistan because narcotics are so freely available there and there are none of the draconian punishments meted out by the Iranian authorities.

Reza, 27, told how he was detained as a drug user in his home city of Zahedan in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province, and was then included among a group of Afghan refugees who were being deported.

“I have documents showing I’m an Iranian national,” he told IWPR. “When I apply to government offices in Nimroz, they tell me to go to the border and ask the Iranian frontier officers to let me cross over. But when I go there, Iranian border officials abuse me and refuse to let me enter my own country.”

Reza says he sleeps in religious shrines in Zaranj, the main provincial town in Nimroz, and survives on the food he gathers from rubbish piles. He recently helped bury a friend. aged 40 and like him from Zahedan, who he says died “for lack of drugs”.

“Other addicts buried him between two graves,” he said.

Another man, Hossein, 38, said he was detained after family members in Iran’s Zabol province went to the police to complain about his chronic addiction problem.

He too said he was packed off across the border as part of a group of deported Afghan nationals. When he showed Afghan police his Iranian ID, they made efforts to send him home, but guards on the other side of the border would not admit him.

Mohammad Anwar Muradi, the head of the provincial counter-narcotics department, said ten to 15 Iranian drug users were entering Nimroz every week.

“There are currently about 2,000 drug addicts in Nimroz province, 80 per cent of them Afghans and Iranians deported from Iran,” he said. “It isn’t yet clear why Iranian border officials are deporting their own nationals to Afghanistan.”

The provincial police chief Hajji Musa Rasuli says his men have detained around 40 Iranian nationals in the region in the past two months, but have yet to pinpoint those living in Zaranj. His officers have tried to send ten drug users back home in recent weeks but Iranian frontier guards would not let them in.

Hajji Najibullah Alami, chief of staff in the provincial governor’s office, said the matter had been raised with Iranian officials, but no satisfactory response had been received.

An Iranian diplomat at the consulate in Herat, speaking on condition of anonymity, flatly denied that his country was expelling its own citizens. He suggested that individuals claiming to be Iranian nationals were in fact Afghans who had been properly deported, and were now seeking a way back into Iran.

“Anyone who has documents can enter Iran and will be assisted by Iranian border officers,” he said.

Residents of Nimroz province say many Iranians come and go voluntarily to enjoy the free market in heroin and other drugs.

“There’s no rigorous control in border areas, so Iranians come over from the other side, buy drugs and go back,” restaurant owner Hajji Sultan said.

He went on to voice a belief that appears to be widespread and was even articulated by some of the officials interviewed for this article, “Iran is deliberately deporting its addicts to Afghanistan in order to spread lethal diseases among Afghans.”

The Afghan government is struggling to provide drug treatment centres for the expanding number of users, and health officials in Nimroz say they do not have the resources to admit Iranian nationals as well. The country’s counter-narcotics minister, Zarar Ahmad Moqbel, recently said there was capacity to treat just one per cent of the estimated one million addicts.

Dr Nur Ahmad, the provincial health chief for Nimroz province, said no clinics existed to run medical checks on individuals – whether returning Afghan refugees or Iranians – as they entered the country.

“Initial assessments indicate that 50 per cent of addicts in Nimroz province are using needles, which increases the incidence of diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis,” he said.

Zia Ahmadi is an IWPR-trained journalist reporting from western Afghanistan.

Source: http://iwpr.net/report-news/iranian-drug-users-%E2%80%9Cdumped%E2%80%9D-afghanistan

The revelation that the number of opium-addicted Afghan children has reached new highs is a sad unintended consequence of that war. It dramatically illustrates how adult war games can doom generations of children to a miserable life, argues César Chelala. Worse, it is a growing problem in neighboring Iran and Pakistan as well.
A group of researchers hired by the U.S. Department of State found staggering levels of opium in Afghan children, some as young as 14 months old, who had been passively exposed by adult drug users in their homes.
In 25% of homes where adult addicts lived, children tested showed signs of significant drug exposure, according to the researchers.

According to one of the researchers, the children exhibit the typical behavior of opium and heroin addicts. If the drug is withdrawn, they go through a withdrawal process.

The results of the study should sound an alarm. Not only were opium products found in indoor air samples, but their concentrations were also extremely high. This suggests that, as with second-hand cigarette smoke, contaminated indoor air and surfaces pose a serious health risk to women’s and children’s health.

The extent of health problems in children as a result of such exposure is not known. What is known is that the number of Afghan drug users has increased from 920,000 in 2005 to over 1.5 million, according to Zalmai Afzali, the spokesman for the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics (MCN) in Afghanistan.

A quarter of those users are thought to be women and children. Afzali stated that Afghanistan could become the world’s top drug-using nation per capita if current trends continue.

According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), no other country in the world produces as much heroin, opium and hashish as Afghanistan — a sad distinction for a country already ravaged by war.

This may explain why control efforts so far have been concentrated on poppy eradication and interdiction to stem exports, while less attention was paid to the rising domestic addiction problem, particularly in children.

Both American and Afghan counter narcotic officials have said that such widespread domestic drug addiction is a relatively new problem. Among the factors leading to increased levels of drug use is on a high unemployment rate throughout the country, the social upheaval provoked by this war and those that preceded it, as well as the return of refugees from Iran and Pakistan who became addicts while abroad.

In both those countries, the high number of opium-addicted children is also a serious problem, particularly among street children. In Tehran, although the government has opened several shelters for street children, many more centers are still needed to take care of them.

According to some estimates, there are between 35,000 and 50,000 children in Tehran who are forced by their parents or other adults to live and beg in the streets or to work in sweatshops.

These children are subject to all kinds of abuse, and many among them end up in organized prostitution rings and become part of the sex trade. They are transported to other countries where they are obliged to work as prostitutes, while others simply disappear.

The situation is equally serious in Pakistan, where in Karachi alone there are tens of thousands of children who are addicted, as drug trafficking prevails all over the city. In Karachi, the main addiction is to hashish.

According to Rana Asif Habib, president of the Initiator Human Development Foundation (IHDF), due to the increase in the number of street children, the street crime rate is also on the rise as children get involved in drug trafficking activities in the city.

Injecting drug users face the additional risk of HIV-infection through the sharing of contaminated syringes. “Drug addiction and HIV/AIDS are, together, Afghanistan’s silent tsunami,” declared Tariq Suliman, director of the Nejat’s rehabilitation center to the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs.

There are about 40 treatment centers for addicts dispersed throughout the country, but most are small, poorly staffed and under-resourced.

For the first time ever, an international team including World Health Organization (WHO) officials and experts from Johns Hopkins University and the Medical University of Vienna have joined efforts to design a treatment regime for young children.

The United States and its allies have the resources to rapidly expand and adequately fund and resource such treatment and rehabilitation centers throughout the country. Anything less will be yet another serious indictment of an occupation gone astray.

source: http://www.theglobalist.com/printSto…x?StoryId=8472

Chemical Warfare

The war on the Afghan heroin trade is having some success, with opium production down 22 percent last year. There has also been more attention paid to opium smuggling, as this is a major concern for Pakistan (and its several million opium addicts). Iran has put more troops on their border, for the same reason, and made it more difficult to get opium into the country. The drug gangs have responded by converting more of their opium into heroin and morphine. But that requires more imports of industrial chemicals for the conversion.

Heroin is much less bulky than opium, and easier to smuggle. As a more expensive drug, it finds most of its users in more affluent areas (like the Persian Gulf, Europe and North America). If you can get the needed chemicals, the math works in your favor. Ten tons of opium (worth about $45 a pound) can be refined into  1.3 tons of heroin (worth about $1,600 a pound).

This conversion requires 2.6 tons of acetic anhydride, an industrial chemical. This is a clear liquid that is flammable and poisonous if you inhale it. There is no legal use for acetic anhydride inside Afghanistan. With bribes and transportation costs, the drug gangs pay about $2,000 per ton to get it to Pakistan. Then it has to be smuggled into Afghanistan, by truck. There are a limited number of roads, with the border manned by guards who are accustomed to being bribed. There are several other chemicals needed to refine the opium (to morphine, then to heroin), but acetic anhydride is the hardest to get, and the one needed in the largest quantities. Smaller quantities of hydrochloric acid are also needed, but this is a more common industrial chemical.

Pakistan drove the heroin trade out in the 1990s, in part, by interfering with the supply of acetic anhydride. While there was a market for opium, it was mainly local, and the large amount of opium available drove the price down. The real money was in heroin, where smaller, more valuable amounts, were easier to move out of the country to more lucrative foreign markets.

Now, consider how heroin fits into the worldwide drug market. The most widely used drug is actually marijuana (and it’s refined version, hashish). There are about 170 million users of these products worldwide. Many live in rural areas where marijuana grows wild and legal restrictions are not energetically enforced. But in many urban areas, marijuana is a major source of income for gangsters, and some terrorist groups. Not as profitable as cocaine and heroin, and harder to smuggle (because of the bulk), but it is still a major threat because it has such a large market.

More debilitating drugs like heroin and cocaine are more expensive, more potent and have less than 20 percent of the market of marijuana and hashish. Cocaine and heroin are more likely to disable users, including much higher risk of accidental death. The 30 million cocaine or heroin users (about 60 percent of them prefer the less debilitating cocaine) are actually dwarfed by the slightly larger number of addicts for synthetic drugs (everything from methamphetamine to Ecstasy and especially prescription drugs).

But cocaine and heroin come from farm crops (coca for cocaine, poppies for heroin) that are very profitable for poor farmers in places like the South American highlands (coca) or Central Asia (Afghanistan at the moment). In both these places, the illegal crops account for the majority of the supply for that illegal drug on the planet. In the case of cocaine, the drug is largely produced by gangsters, with some help from political outlaws (mostly leftist groups). There is some terrorism, but it is all local.

The big danger is the heroin trade, where Islamic terrorists have partnered with tribe based drug gangs to produce most of the world’s heroin. This sort of thing is nothing new. For decades after World War II, most of the heroin came   from the remote Burma (now Myanmar)-China border area, where the drug gangs could afford to raise and equip private armies. But both of those nations eventually cracked down on that business, and it moved to Pakistan for a while, but was forced, by a violent government reaction, across the border into Afghanistan. In both earlier cases, controlling the supply of acetic anhydride played a major role in crushing the heroin trade.

The Afghan government is reluctant to shut down the heroin trade, partly because many senior government officials are being bribed, and partly because it would cause more tribal warfare (most of the tribes oppose the heroin trade, and only a few of the Pushtun tribes in the south control most of the heroin production). Moreover, there is the likelihood that the poppy growing and heroin production would just move to another Central Asian nation. The Islamic terrorists would follow. So the problem really is to crush, or otherwise neutralize, the Taliban, al Qaeda and other Islamic radicals who are sustaining their violence via drug profits. The Taliban earns $50-100 million a year from helping protect the drug gangs.

It is interesting that the two major illegal drugs are both produced in small regions, areas that are dominated by outlaw armies and a general absence of law and order. Cocaine is largely from Colombia, where the drug gangs and their political allies (the leftist FARC) almost brought the government to its knees, before politicians, and most of the population rose up and fought back. In Afghanistan, NATO and U.S. commanders have finally convinced their governments to go after the money; the heroin trade.

That means manufacturers and distributors of acetic anhydride have been under scrutiny, and pressure to control the supply of the chemical entering Afghanistan, for nearly a decade. The smugglers have been very resourceful, using bribes and threats to get past government restrictions. The chemical enters Afghanistan from all neighboring countries, except Iran (which has a small army of incorruptible troops on the border trying to keep out the opium and heroin.) The acetic anhydride is often bought in Europe or Russia, labeled as some other product, and sent on its way to Pakistan or one of the Central Asian neighbors of Afghanistan, where bribes or threats are used to get it into southern Afghanistan, where the processing labs are. This smuggling network is now under major attack. Russia is determined to control their growing addiction problem by keeping the smugglers (who bring drugs out and chemicals out) away from the border. But all this effort is crippled by the corruption and lawless nature of the border area. The example of Colombia shows that you can fight back. But it’s not easy, and progress is slow.

ps. the so called „Islamic Terror Groups“ are founded by the US./UK. Secret  Service!

Mal wieder etwas Politik, diesmal von der Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik!

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