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Iran, Afghanistan to Conduct Concerted Counter-Terrorism Operations

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TEHRAN, June 21 (ICANA) – Iranian and Afghan officials have agreed to carry out simultaneous and coordinated operations against terrorist and extremist groups in the region, an Iranian official said on Tuesday.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 8:54:44 PM
Iran, Afghanistan to Conduct Concerted Counter-Terrorism Operations

"According to the agreement, we exchange information to carry out simultaneous operations against terrorist and extremist groups," Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Ali Abdollahi told reporters at the end of a series of security meetings between the two countries here in Tehran Tuesday.

Abdollahi also pointed to the sour increase in the number of terrorist and extremist groups in the region, and said during the security meetings between Tehran and Kabul officials, the two sides decided to boost their cooperation to better fight against these two dangerous phenomena.

He described cooperation in campaign against drug-trafficking and also intensified control over the two countries' borders as among the other main issues touched and stressed during the Iran-Afghanistan Joint Security Workgroup meetings in Tehran.

Abdollahi had announced yesterday that Tehran and Kabul plan to carry out joint operations against drug-traffickers.

He made the remarks after a meeting of Iran-Afghanistan Joint Security Workgroup on Monday.

Abdollahi said that the two sides discussed campaign against terrorism, drug-trafficking and extremism during the meeting as both Iran and Afghanistan have been the victim of such illegal activities.

The Islamic Republic has emerged as the leading country fighting drug trafficking after making 85 percent of the world's total opium seizures.

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has lost more than 3,700 of its security forces in its war against drug smuggling.

Over the past five years, it has contributed more than $50 million annually to Afghan anti-narcotics efforts.

During the last Iranian year (ended on March 20,) Iran seized more than 1,000 tons of opium smuggled from Afghanistan, the largest producer of opium poppy in the world.

The Iranian police officials maintain that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

While Afghanistan produced only 185 tons of opium per year under the Taliban, according to the UN statistics, since the US-led invasion, drug production has surged to 3,400 tons annually. In 2007, the opium trade reached an estimated all-time production high of 8,200 tons.

Afghan and western officials blame Washington and NATO for the change, saying that allies have "overlooked" the drug problem since invading the country 10 years ago.

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