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U.S. Official Tells VOA Iran Exacerbates Drug Trafficking Challenges in Afghanistan

Interview follows visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan

Washington, D.C., February 6, 2007 – In an exclusive interview this week with Voice of America's (VOA) Persian News Network (PNN), U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics, Counterproliferation and Global Threats Richard Douglas described Iran's role in the significant drug trafficking problems along its border with Afghanistan.

The official qualified as a "grave problem" the transportation of chemicals from Iran to Afghan drug labs, "fueling not only the drug trade but also terrorism." Douglas explained that "there is extremely deep concern on the part of the United States and … also the Afghan government, other neighbors and certainly others in the Coalition about Iran’s conduct….If Iran acted more responsibly," he added, "the problem in Afghanistan would be easier to solve."

At the conclusion of the interview, Douglas highlighted the role of narcotics corruption inside the Afghan government emphasizing that, "the Afghan government itself recognizes that corruption is a problem within its own ranks." He continued, "I believe that even President Karzai in the past has personally spoken to this issue and made it clear that he is aware of it and would like to see every effort made to reduce it."

VOA’s PNN interviewed Douglas in London, following his visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan. VOA has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four adult Iranians tuning into a VOA show at least once a week. Programs are also streamed on our website,

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,250 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

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