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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Urges Efforts to Stop Afghan Drugs

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- The United Nations urged Russia and Central Asian countries on Friday to stem drug trafficking from Afghanistan to Europe and that the proceeds from a record opium crop were funding global terrorism.

This year Afghanistan produced some 8,000 tons of opium, equivalent to a record 1,000 tons of heroin, Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said at a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

"This volume threatens not only to aggravate the health situation, especially with drug addiction and higher numbers of those infected with HIV," he said in Russian, addressing the 12-nation gathering in Dushanbe. "This record high volume of Afghan heroin will also trigger a rise in instability and terrorism."

Drug money in Afghanistan feeds both the Taliban insurgency and official corruption.

Costa urged the CIS to join forces with China and Iran "to plug the breaches in Central Asian borders."

About 20 percent of this year's Afghan heroin harvest -- 200 tons -- will head to Europe via Central Asia and then across Russia, Costa said. The price of this amount of heroin would skyrocket from $500 million in Afghanistan to $10 billion when it finally reaches the streets of Moscow or London.

"Only 4 percent of this amount crossing Central Asia is intercepted," Costa said. "So you can imagine the profits which terrorists rake in." By contrast, a quarter of all Latin American cocaine is seized, Costa said.