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Tajik Border Region Launches New Antidrug Campaign

Guards at the Tajik-Afghan border sort seized heroin.
Guards at the Tajik-Afghan border sort seized heroin.
KHORUGH, Tajikistan -- Tajikistan's mountainous province of Badakhshan, which borders Afghanistan, has launched a campaign to stem drug trafficking and usage, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Activists and neighborhood leaders from the Badakhshan town of Khorugh along with law enforcement agencies have organized 15 public meetings and debates with locals.

Toshbek Musofirov, who is leading the antidrug campaign, told RFE/RL that the project's main goal is to assist local police in eradicating drug addiction and drug smuggling in the region.

Badakhshan Province Deputy Governor Shamsiddin Orombekov says local police cannot reach their goals in fighting drugs without public support.

Payshanbe Avazbekov, who works for an antinarcotics program, told RFE/RL that he and his colleagues went to Afghanistan to get acquainted with the methods of a similar campaign held by Afghan authorities.

He said one of the major reasons for drug addiction in the region is the lack of legal sedatives and pain killers, which leads locals to use – and become addicted to – strong, homemade illegal drugs.

Official statistics in Tajikistan say there are around 500 registered drug addicts in Badakhshan Province.

Avazbekov says a deepening economic crisis in the region also leads locals to join illegal drug trafficking groups as their only way to make money.