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Joint Afghanistan and Tajikistan counter-narcotics forces have captured more than 400 kg of drugs and 13 smugglers in a recent operation, the Counter Narcotics Deputy at the Afghan Ministry of Interior said Thursday.

"We launched the operation at the same time and in coordination with each other, based on the agreement which we signed with the counter narcotics forces of Tajikistan," Baz Mohammed Ahmadi said.
The operation is believed by the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in Afghanistan to be one of the biggest achievements toward eradicating drugs in both countries, he added.

Based on the agreement between the two countries, the operation was run both sides of the border in the Badakhshan areas and efforts to launch similar operations in cooperation with other countries are continuing, Ahmadi said.

The detained smugglers had also been involved in people-smuggling, kidnapping children and women to be sold. Two Tajik women were released from their captors as a result of the recent operation, he added.

"We are pleased the operation had a good result. Both countries will increase their efforts in this matter," said Zainuddin Qurbanov, representative of Tajikistan's Counter Narcotics Agency.

"Afghanistan is still at the top of the [global] list for cultivating and producing opium. There is no doubt about it. This successful operation gives us three lessons which I think we should take with us and indicate how we can operate for the future," Regional Representative for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries at UNODC Jean-Luc Lemahieu said.

"Drugs are not only a problem in Afghanistan but rather an international challenge. Counter-narcotics police have the ability now to fight against drugs - these forces should be supported," Lemahieu added.

According to Ahmadi, a number of MPs and top officials of Afghanistan have been pressuring the ministry over the failure to launch such operations.

"In some cases, a number of MPs and some of top government officials, who would misunderstand the matter, have said that the operation is carried out for personal benefits. They are pressuring us," Ahmadi added.

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