Treasury targets alleged Taliban narcotics trafficker
November 15th, 2012
06:14 PM ET

Treasury targets alleged Taliban narcotics trafficker

By Jamie Crawford

The U.S. government sanctioned a senior Taliban official on Thursday for his alleged role in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and across the region, saying illicit drugs are used to finance violence.

Mullah Naim Barich, who operates as the "shadow governor" of the Taliban movement in Helmand Province, was singled out by the Treasury Department for his alleged role in the production and trafficking of heroin and opium.

The action freezes any of Barich's assets held under U.S. jurisdiction and bars anyone in the United States from conducting any financial or commercial transactions with him.

"Today's action exposes the direct involvement of senior Taliban leadership in the production, manufacturing, and trafficking of narcotics in Afghanistan and underlines the Taliban's reliance on the drug trade to finance their acts of terror and violence," David Cohen, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.

According to Treasury, Barich issued a decree in early January to his Taliban confederates to do what they could to subvert an Afghan government-led plan for the eradication of poppy in Helmand.

The decree called for steps that included planting improvised explosive devices, engaging in combat with NATO forces, and bribing Afghan officials as a way to safeguard the poppy harvest.

Poppy is the raw material used in the production of opium and heroin. About 90 percent of the world's opium comes from Afghanistan, according to the United Nations.

Barich's operations "go beyond just generating profit from taxation of the narcotics trade," a senior Treasury official told reporters on a conference call.

"He is directly involved in multiple levels of the heroin and opium trade, coordinating with other drug traffickers, controlling opium production, and controlling local drug shipments. This illustrates powerfully the crime-terror nexus of the Taliban," the official said.

The flurry of Barich's involvement in the narcotics trade, the Treasury Department said, includes convening a meeting in Pakistan with narcotics producers and smugglers to establish mechanisms for the delivery of narcotics into Pakistan and Iran. His network has also distributed heroin to the Turkish border for further distribution, the Treasury said.

The sanction follows earlier action by the United States to cripple various Taliban financing mechanisms the group uses to move its proceeds.

In June, Treasury targeted two money exchange houses that operated in Afghanistan and Pakistan through which the Taliban had moved money that officials say included profits from illicit activities including the narcotics trade.

Thursday's action freezes any of Barich's assets held under U.S. jurisdiction, and bars any U.S. persons from conducting any financial or commercial transactions with him.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Taliban
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Dorine Whispell

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    March 4, 2021 at 10:07 am | Reply
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    August 29, 2017 at 5:10 am | Reply
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    January 22, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  4. Raven

    The jihad sucks bcs I know god and jesus all the people have the right to live not the jihad

    November 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Reply
  5. I Beat-Off Into The Flag

    The Treasury's going after the CIA?

    November 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  6. Thinker

    Treasury should target narcotic user in US. Never mind what they do in Afghanistan tribal area.

    November 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  7. Cheese Wonton

    Karzai and his brother should have been arrested on drug charges in the first month of the Obama administration. We missed a great opportunity there to clean house. I wonder if anyone making policy even thought of it?

    November 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  8. Mohammed, The Drug Lord

    Dealing drugs is OK for Pakistani men. However, little girls are not allowed to go to school in Pakistan - they are shot for just speaking out.

    November 16, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
    • markymark715

      All drugs should be legalized otherwise criminal gangs will continue to grow and get stronger.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:44 am | Reply
  9. Hahahahahahahahhaha

    We should shut down the export of towels for the Towel Heads. Hahahahahahahahaha

    November 16, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
  10. sticky Bug

    Always with evil stuff these guys.

    November 16, 2012 at 2:04 am | Reply
  11. Silverado

    Dirka, Dirka, Mohammed, Jihad. Nobody can believe in Islam without doing drugs.

    November 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  12. krm1007 ©™

    We now need to focus on India. The American invasion of Afghanistan brought to the forefront the irrelevance of India as a nation. With a population of over 1.2 billion people there was no value that this nation could bring to the table. Their soldiers (ragtag) 1.2 million continue hiding in the trenches scared from Talibans. A few teenage Talibans invaded the country and held it hostage for days on end showing how useless India is. It was embarrasing for the world to observe this humiliation of a nation that was being touted as a regional power.

    November 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Reply
    • Frank Robinson

      Pakistan is Taliban

      November 16, 2012 at 12:55 am | Reply
      • Raza

        lol.. funniest answer ever seen

        November 16, 2012 at 4:10 am |
    • Cheese Wonton

      Yawn, Pakistani troll. Mom looks away for five minutes and this is what you get.

      November 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  13. Clinton

    Gotta love the Muslim mindset, they're willing to blow themselves up and murder people because the West is disgracing their religion or whatever, but at the same time they're dealing in drugs which is expressly forbidden in their religion... Backwards society...

    November 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Reply
    • FayKname

      Unfortunately, similar words can be said about the CIA with their past (and hopefully not present) dealings in the narcotics trade.

      November 16, 2012 at 8:03 am | Reply
      • Cuervo Jones

        My first thought. This guy didn't want to cut in the farm boys.

        November 16, 2012 at 1:22 pm |

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