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Afghan Opposition Burns Taleban-produced Opium - 2001-09-26

The Afghan opposition has burned 300 kilograms of opium that it says was produced by the Taleban.

The opium was set alight in the main square of Khadja Bahaoudin in northern Afghanistan. Hundreds of onlookers watched as the kerosene was poured. They covered their faces as the drugs burned and clouds of noxious black smoke billowed over them.

The region's military commander, Quasim Kabir, exhibited stamps from the bags containing the opium. According to him, the stamps indicated the drugs were produced by the Taleban and destined for Pakistan.

Commander Kabir says the Northern Alliance is fighting the Taleban on all fronts and that the struggle against narcotics smuggling was part of that war.

He also says that clamping down on narcotics was the Northern Alliance's Islamic duty.

It is estimated that 70 percent of the world's heroin is produced from opium grown in Afghanistan. Earlier this year, the Taleban said it was ending opium production and burning the poppy fields from which the opium is harvested.

However, authorities in the neighboring republic of Tajikistan say there has been no decrease in opium being trafficked at the border. This may be because the drugs being trafficked are part of the huge stockpiles still existing in Afghanistan.