Who Controls Kyrgyz Drug Running?

The question of questions: Who sits on the Kyrgyz drug trafficking?

Nicholas Levine


Kyrgyzstan has announced that seriously begins to fight Afghan drug trafficking. How justified this claim? How long shall continue the struggle? And, as perceived efforts by their colleagues Kyrgyz Russian intelligence services? About this columnist “Fergana” Nikolay Levin spoke in Moscow with a senior representative of one of the Russian security services who wish not to publicize his name.

– This year you have visited in the Kyrgyz Republic on a business trip. How to assess the situation, which they formed?

– Well, if very brief, as was drug trafficking, and goes through Kyrgyzstan. The most serious danger, as you know, is the smuggling of opiates, primarily heroin. According to our estimates, through Kyrgyzstan from Afghanistan, annually receives about 20-25 tons of heroin and opium. In 2010, shipments grew up with traffic as the total lack of power prevented the fight in the country. Now its value is governed not so much the efforts of law enforcement, as the limited need for markets: Russia so much heroin to “digest” simply can not. Schemes, in general, are well known, the key organizers of this “business” too. I can not say that the intelligence agencies of this country just do nothing. In particular, the reconstituted Committee on Drug Control, which was eliminated under Bakiyev. This year, in cooperation with the Committee there have been several arrests, the latest hands-free operation was a joint near Ekaterinburg a few days ago. But the main stream of poison still passes narkobortsev.

– Why?

– I do not think it will reveal a great secret if I say that this “business” of the roof of the big men of force and other government agencies. Therefore, the local drug lords do not then they do not want to arrest, they can not even kick in, say, from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

– You said that traffic patterns do not represent a singular mystery.

– Of course. Heroin comes first in the Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan. Then it different ways, including by foot and horse-drawn vehicles, brought to Kyrgyzstan, in Chon-Alai. From there, the road already, a white powder (in fact the Afghan heroin, more likely, cream-colored) vehicles delivered in the base in Osh and Jalal-Abad. Next shipment is sent by one of two routes.The first – in neighboring Uzbekistan. It’s only for ordinary people to the border is closed and the traffic – no. The second route – along the motorway and through the mountains in the Chui region. There again, there are two possibilities: either the heroin is sent to Kara-Balta, and from there to Kazakhstan and on to Russia, or warehoused in Bishkek, where a small portion is taken to various Russian cities by passenger flights, but the bulk is again being moved through Kazakh border for onward carriage to Russia.   (read HERE)


North Africa: Libya – the Criminal Face of Imperialism

North Africa: Libya – the Criminal Face of Imperialism


NATO’s assault on Libya, a criminal imperialist war from the outset more than five months ago, has descended into an exercise in out-and-out murder as special forces operatives and intelligence agents hunt down Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

From the beginning, the central objectives of this war have been to seize control of Libya’s oil reserves, the largest on the African continent, and carry out an imperialist show of force as a means of suppressing and diverting the mass popular movements that only months earlier had toppled the US and NATO-backed regimes of Mubarak in Egypt and Ben Ali in Tunisia.

“Operation United Protector,” as NATO dubbed its military onslaught, would have been more accurately described as “Operation Imperialist Gang Rape.” The US, Britain, France and Italy, each pursuing its own interests in Libya and the broader region, managed to unite for the common purpose of “regime-change.”

To achieve this aim, NATO warplanes carried out over 20 000 sorties, destroying schools, hospitals and homes and slaughtering untold numbers of Libyan soldiers, many of them young conscripts.

Flouting the terms of the United Nations resolution authorising “all means necessary” to protect civilians, NATO powers, including the US, France and Britain, sent in special forces troops, military contractor mercenaries and intelligence agents to arm, organize and lead the so-called “rebels,” whose primary function was to draw out Libyan government forces so they could be annihilated from the air.

The pretense that this was a war to protect civilians has been exposed as a moral obscenity, with the death toll in Tripoli alone climbing into the thousands and NATO bombs and missiles continuing to fall in heavily populated areas.

One has to go back to the 1930s when, as today, world capitalism was gripped by a desperate economic crisis to find fitting parallels. Then, mankind was stunned by the savage aggression unleashed in the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, Hitler’s backing of the Sudeten Germans to achieve the carve-up of Czechoslovakia, and the dispatch of the German Condor Legion to bomb Spain on behalf of Franco’s fascist insurgency.

At that time, these violent acts of aggression were seen as part of world capitalism’s descent into barbarism. Today in Libya, similar acts are proclaimed to be a flowering of “humanitarianism” and “democracy.”

During that period, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appealed to the democratic sensibilities of the American people-while no doubt positioning the US for the pursuit of its own imperialist aims-by demanding a “quarantine” of fascist aggression.

He declared in 1937, “Without a declaration of war and without warning or justification of any kind, civilians, including vast numbers of women and children, are being ruthlessly murdered with bombs from the air.

Nations are fomenting and taking sides in civil warfare in nations that have never done them any harm. Nations claiming freedom for themselves deny it to others. Innocent peoples, innocent nations, are being cruelly sacrificed to a greed for power and supremacy which is devoid of all sense of justice and humane consideration.”

Those words from three quarters of a century ago read like an indictment of the Obama administration and the governments of Cameron, Sarkozy and Berlusconi.

The Nuremberg trials after the Second World War established aggressive war as the “supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

This conception was incorporated into the United Nations, which barred “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

Yet today within the political establishment there is virtually no criticism of the aggressive war carried out by the NATO allies. The scoundrels of the media have fully integrated themselves into the imperialist war machine, literally stepping over corpses and concealing the camera-shy Western dogs of war to better fashion their propaganda about “revolution” and “liberation” in Libya.

The driving force behind the Libyan war is imperialism, aptly described by Lenin as reaction all down the line. It is a war that has been pursued in the predatory interests of finance capital.

It is designed to produce what is being referred to widely in the financial press as a “bonanza,” not only for the major energy conglomerates, but for the banks and corporations, while underpinning the vast fortunes accumulated by the ruling elite by means of financial speculation, the driving down of labor costs in America and Europe, and the exploitation of low-wage labor the world over.

International gangsterism goes hand-in-hand with economic and political criminality at home. Aggression abroad is inseparable from the merciless assault on the living standards and basic rights of broad masses of working people in Europe, America and virtually every major country.

While workers are everywhere being told that there is no money to pay for jobs, education, health care, pensions or vital social services, billions are expended to bomb and invade Libya with no questions asked.

A striking feature of the Libya war is the way it has mobilized behind it a social-political layer of middle class ex-lefts, liberal academics and former protesters.

Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Allegedly Issues Afghan Victory Manifesto

Mullah Mohammad Omar source

AFGHAN Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar has confirmed talks between the insurgency and the US, and laid out a manifesto for a Taliban government that protects private business, exploits the country’s mineral wealth and maintains good foreign relations.

An internet message purportedly written by the one-eyed militant to mark the Islamic festival of Eid al-Fitr claims the Afghan insurgency is close to victory, citing recent foreign troop casualties, Taliban expansionism and the killing of a string of high-level Afghan officials. “All these give us good news of an imminent victory and a bright future,” it said.

This month was the deadliest for US forces in the nearly decade-long conflict, with 66 troops killed, 30 of them when a helicopter was shot down on August 6.

The message appeared to acknowledge mistakes of the former Taliban regime overthrown in October 2001, and seemed aimed at projecting a more mature face to an international community hoping to negotiate an exit from the war in Afghanistan. “The future transformations and developments would not resemble the developments following the collapse of communism, when everything of the country was plundered and the state apparatus damaged entirely,”it said.

“Contrarily, strict measures will be taken to safeguard all national installations, government departments and the advancements that have occurred in the private sector. Professional cadres and national businessmen will be further encouraged, without any discrimination, to serve their religion and their country.”

It confirmed talks between the US and the Taliban, although negotiations were restricted to prisoner release and did not represent “comprehensive negotiation for the solution of the current imbroglio of the country”.

Afghan and US officials this week confirmed secret direct talks between Taliban and US representatives collapsed after Afghan officials leaked details for fear President Hamid Karzai was being sidelined.

On three occasions US officials met Taliban negotiator Tayyab Aga, primarily to discuss the release of US army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured more than two years ago, in return for Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Bagram Air Field near Kabul.

But Omar warned in his message there could be no negotiated end to the conflict without the full withdrawal of all foreign troops. A “limited withdrawal” that left behind US military bases would “in no way solve the issue of Afghanistan”, he said.

In what appeared a softening toward the Karzai administration, he insisted the Taliban did not seek to monopolise power. He called on Taliban fighters to pursue self-improvement through daily exercise, reading and religion, and to avoid extortion, kidnapping or random bans that hurt the common man. Intelligence analysts Stratfor said Omar’s message, and recent willingness to negotiate, suggested the Taliban leader was attempting to build support within and outside of Afghanistan in preparation for the 2014 withdrawal of foreign troops and the inevitable civil war.

“By opting for negotiations the Taliban, who remain the single largest political force in the country, hope to dominate a post-NATO political dispensation and avoid international isolation,” Stratfor said. “This tactic does not mean the Taliban are moderating; rather they are adjusting to constraints that limit their ability to achieve their goals of resurging to power.”

US Senator Lindsay Graham Meets with Uzbek President Karimov

Uzbekistan: US Senator Meets with President Karimov

Uzbekistan:  US Senator Meets with President Karimov
Presidential Press Service of Uzbekistan
Sen. Lindsey Graham and Amb. George Krol at President Karimov’s residence, August 27, 2011
Sen. Graham’s last attempt to see President Karimov after Uzbek riots in 2005

US Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina was received by President Islam Karimov at his residence in Tashkent on August 27, Uzbek state media reported. Ambassador George Krol, the new US envoy to Tashkent, also attended the meeting. Uzbek TVquoted Karimov as saying Uzbekistan “highly values relations” with the US and has seen “great positive things in our relations, especially most recently.“ According to the typically filtered government reports, the American senator was said to discuss resolution of the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan and ways to stabilize the region.

Gov.uz quoted Graham as stressing the importance of economic renewal and solving social problems in Afghanistan. While official reports didn’t specifically mention the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) which supplies NATO soldiers in Afghanistan, no doubt the senator discussed Tashkent’s crucial role in helping the NDN. Uzbekistan is known to serve as a key transit air hub through Termez and has supplied food and fuel by train as well. The US has been actively involved in promoting business and economic opportunities around the NDN, seeing it as important to security of the region and an evenutal “Silk Road” to prosperity.

Sen. Graham is not a member of the Central Asian Caucus in Congress. Yet he is on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and could have a role in deciding whether and how much US assistance is given to the Uzbek government. Under legislation passed in 2004, US military assistance is banned until progress is certified in Uzbekistan on human rights and economic reforms.

Graham, a military lawyer who actually performed an active-duty stint in Afghanistan last year, appears mainly concerned over South Carolina’s failure last year to obtain federal funds for public school jobs and a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study to deepen the Charleston port,McClatchy reports. Yet his position on a powerful Senate committee means he will also have a say in funding the Pentagon, the war in Afghanistan and other related projects like helping Uzbekistan.

Following the Andijan massacre in May 2005, the conservative Sen. Graham accompanied Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and other US senators to meet with Uzbek opposition members and eyewitnesses, and called for a complete investigation in the atrocities, saying at that time that continuation of the relationship was “very difficult, if not impossible, if a government continues to repress its people,” airforce-magazine.com reported. Uzbek officials refused to meet with the senators, and ultimately served an eviction notice on the US, which left the Karshi-Khanabad (K2) airbase it had been leasing.

The question is whether the US needs Uzbekistan so much that it will start waffling on the aid certification. While the State Department is likely to continue to name Uzbekistan a “country of particular concern” (CPC) for its violation of religious freedom, it failed to downgrade Uzbekistanon its annual assessment of global trafficking in persons, despite Tashkent’s lack of progress.

Uzbekistan has not done anything substantive to improve its human rights record , but it has done the next best thing, shy of actual change: created a commission to monitor allegations of the use of forced child labor — which it continues to deny despite reports — and drafted a national human rights action plan .

The “action plan” is a creature of multilateral institutions as well as bilateral relations, where foreign interlocutors try to devise “benchmarks” or incremental steps towards eventual human rights compliance by urging the drafting of plans, training seminars, and progress reports. Like other massive abusers of human rights, Tashkent has learned that just the gesture of drafting a plan, without at all putting it into practice, is enough to keep its foreign critics happy. The new plan contains easy giveaways like a pledge to honor international legal standards over local law — but not release from prison or registration of the activists who actually ensure such rights are protected. Even so, some human rights lawyers are hoping to take the government at its word to push for reforms, and the State Department can now point to this “progress.”

While a few political prisoners have been released from imprisonment in a token gesture, other human rights activists and religious believers continue to be harassed and imprisoned, making certification hard to envision.

Turkmenistan – Telecoms, Mobile and Internet


Turkmenistan – Telecoms, Mobile and Internet 

Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd

Research and Markets, the largest resource for market research information in world providing essential market research reports, industry research, industry analysis, forecasts, market studies, company profiles and country reports.

Executive summary
Turkmenistan’s telecommunications services are considered to be the least developed of all the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. Poor growth in telecom services can be attributed to a large extent to the slow development of the private sector and state control over most economic activities.
Overall, the telecom market in this poor and predominantly rural country is relatively small but has been trying boldly to expand in recent years. The state-owned Turkmen Telecom has been the primary provider of public telephone, email and Internet services, and through a subsidiary has also been operating a GSM mobile network in competition with a private mobile operator, BCT (BCT became MTS Turkmenistan in 2005). Combined fixed-line and mobile teledensity was around 40% in early 2010. Not surprisingly it has been the mobile services that have been dominating the expansion activity. In 2008 the country saw annual subscription growth in excess of 140%, although growth slowed significantly to about 33% in 2009. As a consequence, in a two-year period Turkmenistan, one of the smallest markets in the region, saw its mobile penetration jump from 8% to 30%.
It had certainly not been smooth sailing over the 2008/09 period as the mobile operators felt the impact of the global financial crisis on their revenues. The monthly ARPU recorded by BCT in Turkmenistan fell more than 70% to less than €10 by the fourth quarter of 2008. The fall was mainly due to the Central Bank of Turkmenistan changing the exchange rate for the Turkmenistani manat (TMM) from 5,200 to the US dollar in December 2007 to 14,250 in mid-2008. By May 2010 the exchange was still 14,250TMT to one US dollar. In local currency terms, BCT’s ARPU fell 24%, from TMM250 in the fourth quarter of 2007 to TMM189 in the fourth quarter of 2008, because of the further dilution of its customer base with the increased level of subscriptions.
Growth of the Internet sector had been seriously stifled back in 2000 when the four existing independent ISPs were forced out of business due to the government’s decision to grant Turkmen Telecom a monopoly over data services. The abrupt closure of the ISPs was consistent with government policy, which required tight control over all communications in the country. Internet access continued to be severely restricted, and the few Internet cafes that existed in Ashgabat were closed down in 2002.
After two decades of repression, the incoming president, Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, announced in early 2007 that the government had re-opened Internet cafes in the capital Ashgabat and was set to follow this move in regional centres. One hour of computer time cost about US$4, however, a high price in a country where two-thirds of the population live below the poverty line and the average monthly income was less than US$100. It was not immediately clear how far these reforms would go. By 2010 it was evident that the new president was keeping his promise about keeping the Internet cafes open. There were still considerable restrictions on the use of Internet, however.
Market highlights:

By early 2010 mobile subscribers in Turkmenistan were still relatively low in number, having just passed the 1.5 million mark, being a penetration of almost 30%;
For a number of previous years, growth had been outstanding; mobile subscriber numbers increased by almost 300% in the two year period 2008/09;
The country’s mobile subscriber base was still expanding but the rate had slowed in the second half of 2009 and into 2010;
Fixed-line penetration in Turkmenistan was struggling to break through the 10% penetration barrier, and 2009 had seen the fixed market virtually stagnating and it was not clear where further growth would come from;
Although no updated official figures were available, progress on converting the country’s fixed network from analogue to digital was slow; by 2010 the conversion program still had a long way to go;
Internet growth in the country had been hindered by severe government controls until 2007 when there was an apparent easing of restrictions; this has not, however, seen the expected lift in Turkmenistan’s Internet usage; again, it was hard to confirm the precise situation with the limited official figures available;
There were early signs of broadband Internet access being made available in the country; but a low broadband penetration of 0.05% in 2009 did not look promising.Turkmenistan – key telecom parameters – 2009 – 2010
Category20092010 (e)
Fixed-line services:
Total number of subscribers478,000488,000
Annual change0%2%
Fixed-line penetration (population)9.4%9.4%
Mobile services:
Total number of subscribers (million)1.52.0
Annual change32%33%
Mobile penetration (population)29%38%
(Source: BuddeComm)
This report provides an overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications markets in Turkmenistan. Subjects covered include:

Key statistics;
Market and industry overviews;
Major operators (mobile and fixed);
Regulatory environment;
Mobile market;
Internet market.

Web and Mobile Status Report, Central Asia

Kazakhstan & Central Asia Telecommunications Report Q3 2011 

Business Monitor International

Research and Markets, the largest resource for market research information in world providing essential market research reports, industry research, industry analysis, forecasts, market studies, company profiles and country reports.

Business Monitor International’s Central Asia Telecommunications Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, telecommunication associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on Central Asia’s telecommunications industry.

BMI’s Q311 update on the telecoms markets of Kazakhstan and its four Central Asian neighbours is built on new mobile subscriber data for Q111, ending March 31 2011, regulatory data and local press reports. Using this data, we have revised our five-year growth forecasts for the development of the region’s five mobile markets. In addition, we have reviewed our five-year forecasts for the development of Central Asia’s fixed and mobile broadband subscriber markets this quarter. Therefore, we include customers who use devices such as netbooks and USB sticks to connect to the internet wirelessly through a high-speed (3G/HSPA) network; however, we do not include smartphone users, only dedicated mobile data subscriptions. In the past few months, operators in countries such as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have been have been introducing various promotions, to encourage greater data customer growth and service usage.
In December 2010 Kyrgyzstan became the latest Central Asian republic to introduce third-generation (3G) mobile services, although LTE networks had already been launched in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in 2010 by Kazakh mobile market leader K-Cell, which is owned by the Nordic carrier TeliaSonera, and Uzdunrobita operating as MTS Uzbekistan. BMI forecasts that mobile broadband services based on UMTS/HSPA and LTE technology will make a strong contribution to the growth of internet services in Central Asia because of the limited scope of fixed broadband growth due to a lack of existing infrastructure, income-constrained demand and challenging geography. Our new broadband forecasts for Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan envisage stronger growth as a result of the impact of mobile broadband services. In the long term, BMI believes the spread of mobile broadband services have the potential to stifle the success of competing wireless technologies such as WiMAX and satellite. Meanwhile, in November 2010 3G services were launched in Turkmenistan when MTS Turkmenistan launched a 3G network in the capital Ashgabat. However, the following month it was announced that MTS’ operating licence had been suspended by the Turkmen government. At the time of writing, MTS remained offline and was proceeding with its lawsuit against two state-owned operators Turkmentelecom and mobile subsidiary Altyn Asyr, regarding the termination of interconnection agreements. BMI believes the revocation of MTS’ licence will be to the detriment of the Turkmen market in terms of a loss of competition and international expertise.

The Russian foreign ministry announced on March 7 2011 that it will protect the interests of local telecoms operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) in its dispute with Turkmenistan. MTS has itself responded by writing to international firms with the aim of discouraging them from investing in Turkmenistan. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkmenistan has expressed its interest in initiating negotiations with the Russian operator on the buyout of its assets in the country.

The situation became a political issue beyond telecoms after the military were called in to control crowds in early April 2011, after hundreds of customers stormed Altyn Asyr stores when it suspended the distribution of SIM cards due to network congestion problems. The operator began offering vouchers that could be used to acquire a SIM card from May 2011. Only public officials or foreign nationals are currently being issued SIM cards. One positive ramification from the SIM issuance suspension is the political pressure it applies to the Turkmen leadership. Earlier in April, the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, was forced to respond to the political implications of the SIM shortage by criticising the operator’s poor service. He argued poor work organisation is the cause of the low efficiency. He demanded measures be taken immediately to guarantee the high quality of mobile services across the country and obliged the government to establish private companies and joint ventures with foreign businesses. Huawei Technologies and Nokia Siemens Networks have since won contracts for an urgent upgrade of the Altyn Asyr network, according to local reports.

Iran’s Role in Curtailing Afghan Opium

Iran’s Role in Curtailing Afghan Opium

By Brad L. Brasseur

The recent resurgence of opium production in Afghanistan, notably in Balkh and Badakhshan provinces (as reported by Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit) represents a frightening development for Afghanistan and its neighbors. The ineffectiveness of opium poppy eradication in Afghanistan can be attributed to the Obama administration stopping a military drive to wipe out opium poppy crops in Afghan fields.

Although opium poppies economically sustain thousands of Afghan families, opium production has had serious consequences on the stability of Afghanistan’s regional countries, notably Iran, and Russia. If opium production is increasing today, while the international community is heavily involved in Afghanistan then the potential threat of opium production post-2014 will be even more alarming for Afghanistan’s neighbors.

Iran, with its serious domestic drug problems, is in a strong position to further build up its image in the region and take charge of a process aimed at curtailing the regional opium trade. With its close relationship to the Karzai government, such an engagement could not only potentially alleviate Iran’s drug problems but could also help increase their credibility in the region, including with Russia. In order for Tehran to successfully combat the opium trade, they need to build on the momentum from recent agreements and take the lead on regional approach with other countries that are facing similar challenges.

In light of the withdrawal of international forces in Afghanistan, President Karzai badly needs to increase cooperation and trust building among his neighbors. Iran is one of the few regional countries that have a fairly stable relationship with the Karzai government based on strong economic and trade relations (also helps Karzai receives cash from Tehran). Tehran can use their influence in Kabul to push for increased measures on curtailing opium production.

While it is widely known that Afghanistan is an opium hub, accounting for around 90 percent of global illicit opium production. According to UNDOC 2010 report, 37% of all Afghan heroine travels through Iran before reaching its final markets. Tehran believes that the international community’s efforts in Afghanistan have ignored the drug trade and have allowed drug traffickers to roam free. Moreover, Tehran believes that they have not received gratitude for their strong efforts in fighting the Afghan drug trade whose destination is usually Europe.

Iran has almost done everything in its power to combat its serious drug problem as it threatens the stability of their country and exhausts its military and financial resources. National efforts have been undertaken to hold back the flow of drugs and Tehran has spent millions of dollars, simply constructing trenches, concrete dams, planting minefields, and deploying thousands of troops to secure its border with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Despite some achievements in obstructing smugglers, Tehran’s measures, like other regional countries, have been relatively ineffective, mainly due to the vast organized network of the drug traffickers and their advanced technological equipment.

The bottom-line is that success depends on increasing regional cooperation as there are significant limits to what any state can achieve through fighting the Afghan drug trade alone. Moving forward Iran will need to further increase its cooperation and intelligence sharing with the other regional neighbors under threat, most notably Russia.

The UNDOC points to Russia being the country that has experienced the worst effects from the Afghan drug trade. Recently, the head of Russia’s federal drug control agency Victor Ivanov lashed out at NATO for not doing enough to curtail the production of drugs in Afghanistan. He stated that around 90% of the 30,000 heroine deaths each year come from Afghanistan. In order to combat the drug trade, Iran and Russia have initially teamed up with the three other Caspian Sea states (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan) and agreed to form ‘a Caspian Anti-Drug Information Center”.

While, this represents an important step as it includes two regional powers Russia and Iran using their common interest in a similar manner to their strategy in Tajikistan, where they stopped Turkey and the United States from expanding their influence in the region. The pressing need for addition cooperation among regional countries is needed before true steps in combating the opium trade can take place as the United States has shown no signs in changing their position on eradicating opium in Afghanistan(despite recent joint drug patrols with Russia troops).

In light of the transfer of security in Afghanistan from international troops to Afghan National Security Forces, increased cooperation through a multi lateral approach will be vital moving forward in the fight against the illicit Afghan drug trade. Such an approach can be successful with Iran is in the lead with close cooperation from Russia and other regional countries, including the Caspian Sea states and the Central Asian states.

Brad L. Brasseur works on Afghanistan-Pakistan at the EastWest Institute in Brussels. The views of the above article are not attributed to the EastWest Institute but rather to the individual himself.