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Tajikistan, Iran See Clashes With Drug Smugglers Near Afghan Borders

A policeman oversees the destruction of narcotics in Afghanistan, the world's top opium producer
DUSHANBE (Reuters) - Border guards in Tajikistan have killed six Afghan drug smugglers in a shootout near the border with Afghanistan, officials said.

Tajikistan lies on the main trafficking route to Western Europe from Afghanistan, the world's top producer of opium and its refined form, heroin.

"Six drug smugglers armed with four Kalashnikovs have been killed. About 300 kilos of drugs were seized," border guard spokesman Khushnud Rakhmatullayev said late on February 16.

He did not say when the shootout occurred.

Afghanistan produced more than 90 percent of the world's supply of opium in 2008.

In Iran on February 17, police reported another clash involving drug smugglers near the country's Afghan border.

Police said 10 drug traffickers were killed in the clash and 1,284 kilograms of narcotics were seized, along with arms and ammunition, near the eastern city of Taybad.

Iran's Press TV said the country spends $600 million annually in the fight against drugs smuggled to Europe via Iran.