Yury Razgulayev: The drug flow from Afghanistan via the republic of Kyrgyzstan may increase a lot

The law-enforcement bodies of the Osha region of the republic of Kyrgyzstan conducted a large scale operation during the last two weeks of October to check the contraband routes used for the delivery of drugs from Afghanistan, which is a neighbouring country to Kyrgyzstan. The reason for the operation was the drastic change of the situation in Afghanistan, the analysis of the plans of the new political forces that came to power there, and how they treat the production and distribution of the drugs, which have made Afghanistan the most dangerous country in the world.

There were 24 kilos of heroine seized during the 15 days of the operation, not to mention raw opium, which is not at all considered to be serious there. Timur Isakov works as the deputy chairman of the department for the struggle against the drug trade; he is also the head of the Center of Strategic Information and Analysis of the Internal Affairs Ministry of Kyrgyzstan. Isakov said that one gram of heroine was enough to produce 20 – 40 doses. Therefore, the withdrawn amount of heroine would be enough for a million injections, while there are 300 thousand people living in the Osha region. There is another thing that should be added here. There was an opinion that the border guards as well as the customs employees withdrew about one-tenth of the contraband drugs. A deeper analysis showed that this figure was too exaggerated. Some 500 kilos of heroine went through the Osha region during the period of the operation. Isakov added that the drugs were forwarded on other new routes that were different from the ones that were considered as “traditional.” This means that the new Afghanistan authorities took control over this business. There is nothing surprising in this respect. Drugs have always been the main source of income to purchase weapons, not only for the Taliban. For example, Taliban leader mullah Muhammad Omar banned poppy growing in July of last year. However, that order did not prevent the Taliban from collecting the traditional Muslim tax from those who kept their poppy-plantations. However, Omar had big hopes for the help from Saudi Arabia. The Northern Alliance is another matter. They have weaker funding sources, so they were earning their income from selling drugs. General Dostum gad a factory producing heroine. So why should the new Afghani power (the Northern Alliance) refuse such a profitable business? It would be more logic to suppose that the winners of the Afghan war will work even more in this respect and the Taliban reserves will be given a go. The Northern Alliance will have to purchase new defense technology, to pay wages to their mercenaries, and so on.

Republics of the former USSR, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, are the main countries of the drug contraband. The rest of Afghanistan’s neighbours did their best to protect themselves from such a dangerous state nearby. For example, Iran took preventive measures and now there are army troops, deep trenches, and barbed wire along its borders. There is another country that could be used – Turkmenistan, but it is too far to reach for the main customers.

Therefore, Kyrgyzstan has to deal with this role as a transit corridor from Afghanistan to Russia and then to Western Europe. There is only one direct railway from the republic of Tajikistan to Moscow - it is known world-wide now. But there are dozens of flights from the Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek, from the Uzbekistan capital Tashkent, and there are trains to Siberia and to other regions of Russia. The drug contraband is more sophisticated there so to speak, and they are organized and protected better.

The Taliban movement has formally lost in the war. The Northern Alliance has already taken the three-fourths of the entire territory of Afgahanistan. But one should not think about Afghanistan in the European way: the Tajiks and Uzbeks are not likely to establish the total control over the country that is basically inhabited by the Pashtuns. One may assume that all the plans of the western politicians to set up the order they want will simply fail there.

Rabbani’s government has already claimed that there would be no peacemaking forces allowed to be present in Afghanistan. The analysis of the drug market's development after the victory of the anti-Taliban coalition shows that heroine and opium do mean not only big money for Islamic fundamentalists. The main thing here is absolutely different. Those who consider the struggle with Western civilization to be their lifetime goal think that the drugs are no worse than the actual weapons. Drugs are no worse than those planes that slammed into the WTC buildings in America. They plan to destroy the world using their drugs and it will be a much better thing to do that preparing and performing acts of terrorism. Afghanistan rates first on the list of the drug producers. It is now ahead of Colombia. Three-thirds of world’s opium and heroine is produced in Afghanistan. This is all delivered to the world markets, and Russia is not an exception. The price of the poison in Siberia has dropped a lot and even children can buy some for themselves. A dose in Kyrgyzstan is even cheaper. The drug commerce has already become a common thing there. A father had to put his son in a cage in the town of Tokmok, because he did not have any other way to make his kid stop buying the drugs that were available there everywhere.

The drug dealers are getting more and more cynical. They use young girls in the republic of Tajikistan as “living containers,” make them swallow the capsules with heroine. In Kyrgyzstan, they use more intimate things for that.

Specialists are certain that if there is no tough control established in the new Afghanistan, then the drug flow from this country will grow and grow. Twenty drug-making factories may start working, especially as there is no other job in this country. Growing poppy is considered to be absolutely normal. So there is no need to chase Bin Laden. There are much more important things to do.

AP photo: A farmer harvests opium in Chapliar, Afghanistan, 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Jalalabad

Yury Razgulayev PRAVDA.Ru Bishkek Kyrgyzstan