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Saturday, 2002, July 20

Dawn/Gemini News Service: Locals say an intervention by the Aga Khan, leader of the Ismaili community, helped halt the downward spiral. The billionaire, who has been channelling aid to the region since the fall of the Soviet Union, made his help dependent on the halt of drug cultivation and trafficking. 'And we know for a fact now that none of our farmers grow poppy,' said Mirza Jahani, chief executive officer of the Aga Khan Foundation in Tajikistan. 'We are involved in every community and we know what is going on.' In exchange for turning their back on the lucrative drug trade, the Aga Khan promised to increase the number of development projects in the area and started sending humanitarian help to the Afghan communities settled across the Panj River. Within a few years, the level of drug consumption and trafficking plunged dramatically in Khorog and its surrounding areas...

H.H. Prince Karim Aga Khan IV

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White death' endures in the lands of Central Asia - <I>WHITE DEATH' ENDURES IN THE LANDS OF CENTRAL ASIA - 2002-07-20

Source: Dawn/Gemini News Service

American authorities predicted a sharp decrease in drug trafficking after the eradication of Afghanistan's Taliban regime - known to feed its activities by selling opiates abroad. But its northern neighbour, Tajikistan, knows better.
Months after the ouster of the hardline Afghan regime, trafficking in heroin - dubbed 'white death' in Tajikistan - is far from eradicated.

'We evaluate that there has been a 13 to 15 per cent increase in drug trafficking since the beginning of the US intervention in Afghanistan,' said Abai Iugochev, head of press relations for the Tajik Drug Control Agency.

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