02 May 2012

Juma Khan’s Opium Network

Seeds of Terror by Gretchen Peters, 2009, Excerpts

Juma Khan’s drug empire, which moves as much as $1 billion worth of opium and heroin a year, forms the backbone of the Taliban. Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden all work for him. A March 2004 British intelligence document suggested his influence extended to President Hamid Karzai’s inner circle.

By 2004, Juma Khan’s drug network was a principal source of funding to the Taliban and al Qaeda and a key conduit for their weapons. He ran a massive refinery and maintained huge underground storage depots straddling the border between Helmand and Baluchistan.

Narcotics leaving southwestern Afghanistan follow three general routes. The first goes directly into Iran from Nimroz and Farah provinces. The second dips down into Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province and then heads west for Iran. A third smuggles drugs south to Pakistan’s Makran Coast and then by boat to the Persian Gulf. Juma Khan has also expanded northward, building new smuggling routes through the Central Asian states of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

In 2008 he was arrested in Indonesia and transported to New York to face charges under a new American narco-terrorism law. It later turned out, that Juma Khan was also a longtime American informer, who provided information about the Taliban, Afghan corruption and other drug traffickers, and was paid a large amount of cash by the United States. Plea negotiations are quietly under way. A plea bargain might keep many of the details of his relationship to the United States out of the public record.

The heroin epidemic advancing on Russia
03 Apr 2010
Since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, opium production in Afghanistan has risen dramatically. Russia's geographic proximity to the region has made it a huge consumer - sending thousands of Russians to an early grave every year. We hear a lot about the effects of Afghan heroin on the streets of Europe. But the countries that are really suffering are the ones on Afghanistan's doorstep, places we know little about, and care even less -Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and the biggest of all - Russia.

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