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US may free Taliban-linked drug lord Noorzai

US may free Taliban-linked drug lord Noorzai

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Aug 13, 2020 - 11:07

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): With intra-Afghan talks expected next week, the Trump administration is mulling the release of an alleged drug kingpin with links to the Talibaninfo-icon, the Time reported on Thursday.

Haji Bashir Noorzai, the drug lord who allegedly financed the militant movement, was detained by DEA officials for his global heroin trafficking operations in 2005.

Later on, a court in the Southern District of New York tried and sentenced to life in US federal prison. He may be freed in response to a request from the Taliban, the media outlet said.

US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad reportedly recommended the release of Noorzai at the end of July in line with the Feb. 29 peace deal between the Taliban and the Trump administration.

“Putting Noorzai back in action would add one more skilled player to the global drug trade, with Afghanistaninfo-icon already the world’s largest producer of heroin,” Time said.

NATOinfo-icon members, meanwhile, are concerned that the US leader will unveil an early complete drawdown that could leave their nations vulnerable.

The news outlet quoted two unnamed European officials as voicing their frustrations with a once-reliable ally. “We went to war for them, and we can’t stay in the country without them,” one of the officials remarked.

He added Europeans feared they would bear the brunt of future attacks in case the war-torn country once again became a safe haven for terrorists after the US troop exit.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud

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