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Tajik Drug Agency Rejects Russian Corruption Charges

Trucks cross a bridge over the Piandj River on the Tajik-Afghan border.
DUSHANBE -- The Tajik drug agency has rejected a Russian charge that half of the 300 trucks that cross the Tajik-Afghan border every day are used trafficking drugs and that corruption is high among Tajik agencies.

The charges were made last week by a Russian drug-enforcement chief.

Fakhriddin Jonmahmadov, the chief of staff of the Tajik drug agency, told RFE/RL's Tajik Service on March 31 that the accusations are baseless.

He added that in the last four years, the Tajik and Afghan drug agencies have seized more than 6 tons of drugs, destroyed 19 heroin laboratories, and arrested more than 100 people involved in the drug trade.

Jonmahmadov said the level of corruption among Tajik agencies is no worse than in similar institutions in other former Soviet countries. He accused journalists of making false accusations against Tajik institutions.

Tajik journalist Nurali Davlatov partly agrees, telling RFE/RL that some Tajik journalists are not qualified to cover such complicated issues as drug trafficking, but he added that government structures should also learn to better cooperate with the media.