Drug baron captured in E. Afghanistan

January 17, 2012 11:39 pm 

KABUL, Jan. 17 — A prominent drug baron was captured in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, the NATO-led ISAF forces said on Tuesday.

"Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) detained the first and second in command of a prominent narcotics ring operating out of Shinwar district, Nangahar province on Jan. 13," the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a press release.

"The ANSF-led operation with support of Coalition forces (ISAF) detained Haji Bando Gul and his nephew, Sucha Gul, along with eight other individuals suspected of illicit narcotics involvement," it said.

"Haji Bando's brother, Baghcho, has been incarcerated in the United States since 2009; Bando has led the network's operations following Baghcho's arrest," it added.

"Sucha Gul has been heavily involved in the importing of precursor chemicals from Pakistan and China for sale to heroin processing laboratories," it said.

The arrests follow President Karzai's Jan. 9 cabinet meeting in which the Afghan President directed the Minister of Interior to take serious measures to bring drug dealers and narcotics networks to justice.

Afghan President Karzai previously recognized the narcotics industry as a destabilizing factor that undermines the moral foundation of the state and contributes to an overall lack of security in Afghan society.

Another recent counter-narcotics operation includes the arrest of Haji Eissa Noorzai on Dec. 12, a mid-level drug trafficker in Zaranj, the provincial capital of southwestern Nimruz Province, responsible for smuggling heroin and providing funding to insurgents, it said.

The insurgency-hit Afghanistan produces about 90 percent of the world's opium, the raw element for making heroin.

According to officials, more than 6,400 tons of opium were produced in central Asian country last year. (PNA/Xinhua) RMA/hbc/utb

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