Central Asia: April 14, 2002


Russian soldiers in Tajikistan seized nine tons of illegal drugs in 2001 and arrested some 2,000 drug smugglers. The highly organized and heavily armed gangs moving drugs across the Tajik and Iranian borders are Afghan tribal organizations, often led by an ambitious warlord. These gangs made deals with the Taliban, and have so far refused demands by the new Afghan government (under pressure by the United States) to stop the smuggling. In fact, with the Taliban gone, the drug gangs are fighting among themselves to decide who controls what smuggling routes.


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