Corruption helps Afghan drug lords evade justice: UN

The U.S. government's former point man in the fight against the heroin trade in Afghanistan accused Afghan President Hamid Karzai in an article published on Sunday of obstructing counter-narcotics efforts.

Corruption helps Afghan drug lords evade justice: UN

Corruption in Afghanistan is hobbling efforts to combat the booming opium trade with powerful drug lords evading justice by simply making a telephone call to friends in high places, a United Nations official said on Monday.

Opium production in Afghanistan has risen every year since U.S. and Afghan forces ended Taliban rule in 2001, despite millions of dollars spent on trying to eradicate crops, encourage farmers to plant something else and arrest traffickers.

"We talk about those who are not behind bars, but who should be," the head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Afghanistan, Christina Oguz, told a news conference. "They are the people who have committed crimes of corruption or who are the brains and profiteers behind trafficking networks.

"They are people with power and people with powerful friends who can use their mobile phones to release a suspect from detention without a fair trial," she said.

The U.S. government's former point man in the fight against the heroin trade in Afghanistan accused Afghan President Hamid Karzai in an article published on Sunday of obstructing counter-narcotics efforts and protecting drug lords.

Karzai strongly denies the charge.

Reuters

Last Mod: 29 Temmuz 2008, 11:41
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