Afghan Analyst: US, NATO Support Al-Qaeda in Northern Afghanistan*
TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Afghan analyst revealed that Washington and the NATO support the al-Qaeda terrorist group in the Central Asia and the Northern parts of Afghanistan, and said the al-Qaeda provides the US and the Northern alliance with intelligence assistance, in return.
"This branch of the al-Qaeda is tasked with creating insecurity in the regional countries as well as establishing contacts with the spy agencies of the trans-regional states," Javid Kouhestani told FNA on Saturday.
He also disclosed that there are groups and streams within the al-Qaeda which are not enemies to the US and the NATO, and rather have close cooperation with them.
Iran, along with other regional countries, has many times urged a complete pullout of foreign forces from the region, describing it as the only way to restore peace and tranquility in this part of the world.
Tehran has frequently warned that the military presence of the western powers in Afghanistan has deteriorated problems, including drug cultivation, production and trafficking, in the war-ravaged country.
Iran, which leads international efforts in fighting drug networks and traffickers according to the UN statistical figures, says 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 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 for ten years since they invaded the country.