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    TRANSIT OF AFGHAN NARCOTICS THROUGH PAKISTAN IS STILL GROWING

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    ISLAMABAD, January 31 (RIA Novosti) - On Saturday the News newspaper reported that the transit volume of narcotics from Afghanistan via Pakistan was still growing despite efforts of Pakistani authorities and law enforcement bodies.

    In 2003, according to UN data, 30,750 hectares in Afghanistan were sowed with opium poppy and the harvest amounted to 3,600 tons of raw opium. Dozens of illegal laboratories on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border continue producing heroin.

    Pakistan established special forces to combat narcotics trafficking. Frontier guards, customs services and police as well as army units in frontier regions are also fighting the narcotics business.

    In the last year in the North-West Frontier alone (with the center in Peshawar) police seized 71 kg of heroin, 420 kg of opium and almost 10 tons of hashish. (North-West Frontier is a territory with predominantly Pushtun population which had been enjoying self-government since the end of the 19th century when in the course of the "forward policy" waged by British colonial forces in India the southern part of the Suleiman mountains inhabited by Pushtuns was torn away from Afghanistan and first annexed to British India and afterwards in the wake of India's independence was annexed to Pakistan when Moslem Pakistan separated from India).

    After commencement of the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan the flow of Afghan narcotics to the global markets, contrary to expectations, multiplied (though Taliban used to strictly curb production of opium poppy having described it as an action against God). The new authority in Kabul at the moment limits itself to appeals and issuance of "strict" decrees and the international community allocates insufficient funds to re-cultivate Afghan lands and compensate Afghan peasants who decided to give up the drugs growing business.

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