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US slaps sanctions against Taliban leader

US slaps sanctions against Taliban leader

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Nov 16, 2012 - 12:32

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): The United States on Thursday slapped sanctions against Mullahinfo-icon Naim Barich, the Talibaninfo-icon’s shadow governor for southern Helmand province, for his involvement in illicit drug trade.

“Today’s action exposes the direct involvement of senior Taliban leadership in the production, manufacturing, and trafficking of narcotics in Afghanistaninfo-icon and underlines the Taliban’s reliance on the drug trade to finance their acts of terror and violence,” said Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.

Barich also appears on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1988 Sanctions List due to his support for the Taliban. As a result of the sanctions, US citizens are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions with Barich and also freeze any assets he may have under US jurisdiction.

The Treasury Department alleged the man was involved in many levels of the heroin and opium trade, including leading meetings with drug traffickers, controlling production and owning drug loads.

He allegedly convened a meeting to discuss narcotics production and delivery to Pakistaninfo-icon and Iran. The meeting, held in a compound in the Girdi Jangle area of Pakistan, was attended by a number of prominent narcotics producers and smugglers.

“On another occasion, Barich met with a number of personnel to discuss preparations for the opium production forecasted for 2012. He met several others, ordering them to prepare for the upcoming poppy season purchases and transportation,” the department said.

A consignment of processed white heroin, owned by Barich, was sent from a narcotics trafficker’s compound in Girdi Jangle to Salawan, Iran, and then on to the Turkish border for further distribution, it alleged.

In March 2012, Barich had issued a written decree to subordinate Taliban commanders, detailing procedures to be adopted in Helmand, Afghanistan’s largest opium-producing province, to combat government-led eradication operations.

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