Opium smugglers kidnap six in Iran provinces
Armed drug traffickers kidnapped six people Tuesday in the northeastern Iranian province of Khorassan, state radio reported. Iran is a major transshipment point for drugs from Afghanistan and Pakistan destined for markets in Europe and the Gulf.
Afghanistan last year emerged as the world's largest opium producer with a record yield of 4,600 tones. However, a United Nations report last week said the country's opium crop dropped this year to 3,275 tones, a 28 percent decline, as the Taliban have banned poppy cultivation.
There was no word on any ransom request but residents of the town of Bardeskan, where the six were allegedly taken, demonstrated in front of the provincial governor's office to protest against a lack of security.
Safety has been a concern in the region since the Islamic Taliban militia ousted President Burhannudin Rabbani from power in neighboring Afghanistan in 1996, sparking a brutal civil war. — (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)