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Obama identifies Pakistan as "major transit country" for narcotics

By Nairita Das

Washington, Sept 17 (ANI): US President Barack Obama has identified Pakistan as a major transit country for opiates and hashish for markets around the world, especially for narcotics originating in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan also is a major transit country for precursor chemicals illegally smuggled to Afghanistan where they are used to process heroin." The Nation quoted Obama, as saying in a memorandum to the Secretary of State, identifying it among the twenty major drug transit or drug-producing countries of the world.

"Pakistan is still challenged by extremist groups who have power over parts of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, particularly where most of Pakistan's poppy is grown," he added.

However, Obama added that Pakistan government was working towards tackling this problem in a bid to return to opium poppy-free status soon.

"The Government of Pakistan is forced to divert law enforcement resources and equipment from poppy eradication efforts to address these incursions," he noted.

He pointed out that joint US-Pakistan survey conducted in 2009 estimated that 1,779 hectares of opium poppies were under cultivation in Pakistan, approximately 130 hectares less than was under cultivation in the country during the previous year.

"The range of US-Pakistan initiatives, which include programs to defeat insurgency on Pakistan-Afghanistan border and prevent terrorist safe-havens, have the spin-off effect of helping Pakistan to fortify its land borders and seacoast against drug trafficking and terrorists, support expanded regional cooperation, and encourages Pakistan to return to opium poppy-free status," Obama said. (ANI)

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