US imposes sanctions on senior Taliban narcotics trafficker
The United States has announced sanctions against Mullah Naim Barich, a senior Taliban leader and a major narcotics trafficker.
According to a statement by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Mullah Barich was described as the "Shadow Governor" of Helmand, the largest opium producing district in Afghanistan, reports The Express Tribune.
Barich was already on the UN Security Council Resolutions 1988 Sanctions List for supporting the Taliban, and the sanctions on him will now prohibit any US citizen from conducting financial or commercial transactions with him, while freezing any assets he may have that fall under the US' jurisdiction.
The statement said that Barich was involved in various levels of heroin and opium drug trade.
"Barich convened a meeting to discuss narcotics production and delivery to Pakistan and Iran. The meeting was held in a compound in Girdi Jangle, Pakistan, and attended by a number of prominent narcotics producers and smugglers," the statement said.
"Further, a consignment of processed white heroin, owned by Barich, was sent from a narcotics trafficker's compound in Girdi Jangle, Pakistan, to Salawan, Iran, and then on to the Turkish border for further distribution," it further said.
In March 2012, Barich wrote to Taliban commanders on what steps to take to protect the poppy harvest from the government-led eradication operations, the statement said.
"Barich has said the funds from the poppy harvest will permit the Taliban to survive, and therefore, it must be protected at all costs," it added.