HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html UN Report Slams Taliban For Drugs, Pakistan For
Pubdate: Sun, 27 May 2001
Source: Times of India, The (India)
Copyright: Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 2001
Author: Chidanand Rajghatta


WASHINGTON: The United Nations on Friday accused the ruling Taliban in
Afghanistan of selling drugs to finance its wars and slammed Pakistan
for failing to regulate its madrassas (religious school) which it said
are a main source for recruiting terrorists. In a report to the UN
Security Council, a five-member expert group recommended setting up a
new UN sanctions monitoring office based in Vienna which would employ
specialists in illegal arms trafficking, drugs, money laundering and

The specialists, who would collect and analyse information about the
terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, would be mandated to publish
their findings widely even as they worked with various border control
and counter-terrorism services in the six States neighbouring

Based on two months of fact-finding and information gathering work,
the expert panel proposes among other measures a ban on the supply of
aircraft turbine fuel, which the Taliban uses for its helicopters and
fighter bombers, and monitoring the movement of acetic anhydride, a
chemical used to produce heroin.

Several recommendations are directed at Afghanistan's neighbours,
particularly Pakistan, where religious schools called madrassas
provide a supply of recruits to the Taliban. "The Pakistan authorities
should be urged to exercise greater control over the madrassas on
their territory and the movement of people across their common border
with Afghanistan," the report states.

The expert group's observation on the Taliban's drug record runs
counter to the US view. The five-member panel has questioned the
sincerity of the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar in banning
cultivation of poppy last July. It says the Taliban was stockpiling
drugs and it has halted production only to keep opium and heroin
prices from plummeting.

If Taliban officials were sincere in stopping production of opium and
heroin, then one would expect them to order the destruction of all
stocks existing in areas under their control, the report says.

The US, on the other hand, believes the Taliban is really cracking
down on poppy cultivation, and based on the observations of its own
study team, it recently sanctioned a $43 million aid to

In discussing the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, the expert
group report says the difficulty in closing the camps is that many of
them are simple, rudimentary affairs that can easily be strict and the
occupied rapidly dispersed to other locations.

However, it says Pakistan could use any number of measures and
techniques to control cross-border movement with help from the
international community.

The proposed UN office in Vienna should employ sanctions enforcement
teams to work with various border control and counter-terrorism
services in the six states neighbouring Afghanistan, according to the
report. The teams would help those countries to modernise all aspects
of their border legislation, customs procedures and border control

The experts say their recommendations should be implemented "at least
until such time as realistic and productive negotiations are held,
leading to a lasting political settlement, within which must be
incorporated a verifiable mechanism for the closure of all terrorist
training facilities and a plan to repatriate non-Afghan terrorists."
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