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Afghan Region Makes Name for Drug Mules, Tragedy

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

TAKHAR -- Residents of this remote district of northeast Afghanistan are finding that desperate times call for desperate measures.

With few options to make an honest living, many locals in the Kalafgan district of Takhar Province are taking jobs as drug mules for local drug cartels. As couriers, locals smuggle packages of illicit narcotics to neighboring Tajikistan and Iran.

The work is high-risk and often rewarded with prison or even death.

Those dangers hit home recently as locals buried the bodies of 10 men from Kalafgan who were hanged in Iran, reportedly for drug smuggling. Residents say that in the past six months they have buried 80 villagers who were executed in Iran. As many as 400 other residents, locals say, are serving lengthy jail sentences in the Islamic republic.

Work, Passports 'In A Week'

The high concentration of drug couriers in Kalafgan has forced a light on the booming illicit drug trade in the area. When funerals for the 10 men were held on February 23, hundreds of mourners marched through the streets calling on the provincial government to improve economic conditions and to apprehend smugglers in the area.

To read the full story

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Afghan Region Makes Name for Drug Mules, Tragedy

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