India, Iran discuss ways to fight drug trafficking from Afghanistan

India, Iran discuss ways to fight drug trafficking from Afghanistan

Talks gain importance in view of recent seizure of around 3,000 kg heroin at the Mundra port

Illegal production of drugs in Afghanistan has impacted Iran severely for several decades, the Embassy of Iran has said. The statement came after Indian and Iranian officials held a virtual meeting on Wednesday following the largest seizure of heroin at the Mundra port in Gujarat on September 15.

“[We] discussed and examined ways and means of mutual cooperation in fighting drug trafficking which accordingly resulted in some positive outcomes. It is for many decades that narcotic drugs production and organised drug trafficking from Afghanistan has posed a major threat to Iran, our region and to the world,” said the Embassy of Iran after the meeting.

The discussion is important because of the seizure of around 3,000 kg heroin in the Mundra port managed by the Adani Ports, on September 15. The operation led to the largest drug haul in the history of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). Initial reports had indicated that the containers carrying the substance originated from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

The National Investigation Agency has been probing the incident over the last several days. The drug haul also impacted Iran’s trade as the Adani Group declared that containers from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan will not be handled at the port from November 15.

“As an immediate neighbour to Afghanistan, Iran has also been significantly impacted by other developments in that country,” said the Embassy without elaborating.

Analysts and commentators however have pointed out that a large amount of narcotic substances that were with various narcotic producing groups in Afghanistan were made to disappear from the country as the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15. It is yet to be investigated if the discovered drugs in the Mundra port were part of such a consignment that was sent out by active Afghan syndicates to prevent the Taliban from gaining access to them.

The embassy said Iran has been adversely affected by the U.S. presence in Afghanistan which also coincided with a spike in production of drugs in the war-torn country. The embassy said, “Occupation of Afghanistan by foreign forces, infighting between various groups and severe poverty have all contributed to considerable rise of narcotic drugs production.”

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