Afghan heroin hang-glider downed

Border guards in Tajikistan report that they shot down a hang-glider carrying 20 kilogram of heroin being smuggled over the border from Afghanistan Aug. 23. Tajik officials said Afghan traffickers had been using the hang-glider for three years, and previous attempts to shoot it down had failed. Some reports said it was powered by a small engine. Officials said a manhunt was under way for the “pilot,” who had escaped despite being injured on hitting the ground.

The incident took place in the Shuroobod area, which is said to be a major smuggling route. Lt. Gen. Saidamir Zukhurov, commander of the Tajik border troops, said the trafficker had “little chance to escape” because the area had been tightly secured.

On Aug. 22, Tajik border guards exchanged fire with Afghan smugglers, who fled and abandoned 20 kilograms of heroin and 20 kilograms of cannabis. More than 800 kilograms of Afghan heroin has been recovered in Tajikistan since the start of the year, according to official statistics. Afghanistan’s growing heroin trade accounts for an estimated 90% of the world’s supply. (BBC, Aug. 23)

See also WW4 REPORT #97

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