BRITAIN will be flooded with a wave of drugs if the remaining 400 Taliban fighters are released from prison, the president of Afghanistan claims.
The peace agreement, which was signed after 18 years of conflict between the US and the Taliban, will see 5,000 prisoners released and American troops leave the country in 2021.
Britain will be flooded with a wave of heroin if Taliban fighters are released, the Afghan President warns[/caption]
The Afghan government claim they had no say in the negotiations and are frustrated by the conditions imposed.
President Ashraf Ghani warned that all Nato leaders will be complicit if there was an increase in the international drug trade as many of the prisoners still behind bars are drug kingpins.
“If drugs go through the roof in the United Kingdom and Europe, all leaders have been part of this,” he told the Times.
“If amphetamines reach the shores of the United States we should know that these are the consequences, and if people commit crimes, there’s shared international responsibility.
The Taliban’s annual income was estimated to be $400million (£316million) but it could be as high as $1.5billion.
Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium and the opium poppy supplies the overwhelming majority of heroin worldwide.
Most of the poppy growing takes place in areas controlled by the Taliban and it’s believed to be an important source of income.
The Taliban earns money from taxes at different stages of the process.
A Brit patrolling a poppy field in Afghanistan [/caption]
Taliban fighters with their guns in Kabul during a rejected ceasefire in the month of Ramadan[/caption]
Tribesmen march at a rally in Miranshah, a town close to the Afghan border. The town is a safe haven for Taliban fighters[/caption]
A 10 per cent cultivation tax is collected from opium farmers and taxes are also collected from the laboratories that convert opium into heroin.
Annual Taliban income from the narcotics trade is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
In August 2018, the US claimed to have destroyed around 200 of the 400-500 Taliban drug laboratories in the country and air strikes wiped out around of a quarter of the Taliban’s revenue trade, the BBC reported.
But, it’s thought that the labs are cheap and quick to rebuild once they are destroyed.
So far, 4,600 of the 5,000 detainees have been released under the terms of the deal.
The Afghan government was due to release its final batch of 400 Taliban fighters last week so its own peace talks with the militants could start.
Having freed 80, it has halted the process until more of its own soldiers are returned. The government is extremely concerned about a group of 22 soldiers that are held by the Taliban.
Australia and France have called for a number of the prisoners to remain in jail because of their involvement in specific killings.
The Afghan government would lose some of its negotiating power if the soldiers were released ahead of potential talks with the Taliban.
“These 400 people stand for everything that breaks my heart and makes us doubtful,” President Ghani said.
“They have a lot of blood on their hands.”
Last week, President Ghani told TIME: “The list is likely to pose a danger both to us, and to you, and to the world because it has drug dealers and hardened criminals.”
One of the prisoners who could be released by the US in a bid for peace is Haji Bashir Noorzai, a former Taliban financier and drug lord.
He flew from Dubai to New York in 2005 to strike an agreement with American officials seeking peace with the Taliban. But, it was a trap as he was arrested.
MOST READ IN NEWS
There are fears that releasing Noorzai could add a skilled player to the drugs trade.
As Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer in heroin, western leaders fear that proceeds will end up funding the Taliban.
But, an anonymous former US defence official said that adding Noorzai into the drug scene wasn’t going to have much of an impact.
The opium drugs trade in Afghanistan is the Taliban’s main source of income[/caption]
Afghan Taliban fighters and villagers celebrating the peace deal negotiated with the US[/caption]
A Taliban fighter sits next to his anti-aircraft gun in the Afghan capital Kabul in October 2001 [/caption]