Iraq and the damage done

Where the war on terrorism now meets the war on drugs.

Published May 13, 2005 5:08PM (EDT)

If you're still not sure about a direct connection between Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terrorism, this BBC report offers one: According to the International Narcotics Control Board, an independent arm of the United Nations that monitors drug control initiatives, Iraq is now a key trafficking route for Afghan heroin. Smugglers are exploiting porous borders and the continuing chaos caused by the insurgency; the INCB says that Jordan recently seized large quantities of illicit drugs along its border with Iraq.

"Whether it is due to war or disaster," said INCB president Hamid Ghodse, "weakening of border controls and security infrastructure make countries into convenient logistic and transit points, not only for international terrorists and militants, but also for traffickers."

Ghodse added that no concrete figures exist yet for the amount of drugs smuggled through Iraq, but that they've seen "alarming" evidence of a growing problem.

By Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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Afghanistan Iraq War United Nations War Room