Pubdate: Sat, 30 Dec 2000
Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Copyright: The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2000
Author: Wassana Nanuam


The United States army will train Thai soldiers in drug operations from 
next month, according to the Third Army chief.

A joint command headquarters will be set up in Chiang Mai as a training 
centre for anti-drug drives, said Lt-Gen Watthanachai Chaimuenwong.

During the training programme, American troops will pass on lessons from 
their experience in efforts to counter the cocaine trade in Colombia.

Four companies, three from the army and the other border patrol police, 
will form a rapid deployment force to intensify the drug war.

Problems will worsen next year with the United Wa State Army likely to 
raise methamphetamine output to 600 million pills from 400 million this 
year, said Lt-Gen Watthanachai. Only 25 million pills were seized in 
Thailand this year.

The relocation of 10,000 Burmese ethnic minorities to areas close to the 
border has served to boost production of opium and other drugs.

"We must urge the international community to pressure Burma to seriously 
combat drugs. It should not claim that drug precursors are smuggled via 
Thailand, China or other countries," said Lt-Gen Watthanachai.
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