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Cooperation between Taliban, drug dealers surged in Helmand

AT News Reports

KABBUL: Officials in southern Helmand province say cooperation between the Taliban insurgents and the drug dealers have recently been increased.

Nearly one week ago, the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) have suffered huge casualties during intense fightingwith theTaliban rebels—the terrorist group who enjoys support by the drug dealers in the province.

Provincial Governor Spokesman Umer Zwak said besides fighting the Taliban insurgents, the security forces making all out efforts toeliminate the drug factories in the province as well.

According to him, Taliban insurgents receivingsupports by the drug dealers to fight against the security forces in a bid to protecttheir drug factories which is a good source of income for them.

“ANDSFconductedmilitary operations in areas, where opium is produced, the insurgents also attack on the check points in some areas to protect opium forms to take leverage from it,” he said.

“In all those areas that Taliban exists, the drug dealers also exists and collectively running drug factories to produce drugs.”

According to Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction(SIGAR) more than 85 percent ofAfghanistan’s opiumhas been produced in Helmand, where these drugswere trafficked by domestic and foreigner drug dealers across the world.

Hasham Alokozai, Helmand representative in the Upper House said beside opium production,drug markets arealso open in some districts of the province.

“All the drug dealers have gone to Zamin Dawar, Kajaki, Musa Qal and Baghran districts and have setup drug markets there,” he said.

According to SIGAR the aerial operations on the drug factories have caused40 million US$financial losses to the Taliban insurgents and to the drugmafia groups.

Alockozai called the Helmand war a fight against Taliban militants and drug dealers, asking the security officials to launch comprehensive military operations against these two groups.

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