Central Asia: September 19, 2001


About a thousand Uzbek Islamic radicals, fresh from Bin Laden training camps, are in northern Afghanistan, possibly preparing to move into Uzbekistan or Tajikistan to escape invading American forces (or American bombers.) Meanwhile, the heroin trade from Afghanistan continues. The Taliban has stopped the growing of poppies, but there were apparently large stocks of opium (derived from poppies and later turned into heroin.) There are a number of factories in Afghanistan for the conversion of the poppies into heroin. The halt in poppy growing has simply increased the value of the heroin stocks still held in Afghanistan. The armed gangs moving the heroin out of Afghanistan are seen as a threat to the stability of the Central Asian nations.


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