U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) assisted the U.S. Department of the Treasury in designating Helmand province "shadow governor" and Taliban leader, Mullah Naim Barich, as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker or "kingpin." Helmand is the largest opium producing province in Afghanistan.
Barich is involved in many levels of the heroin and opium drug trade, including leading meetings with drug traffickers, controlling opium production, and owning his own drug labs.
"Mr. Barich has publicly stated that all measures should be taken to protect the poppy harvest which includes planting improvised explosive devices against Coalition forces and corrupting Afghanistan government officials by enticing them to take bribes," said Maj. Gen. Richard Longo, Commander for the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force Afghanistan, an ISAF organization dedicated to combating corruption, narcotics and their links to the insurgency. Maj. Gen. Longo added, "This clearly shows that the anti-drug rhetoric of the Taliban is a lie. There is nothing virtuous about their actions. They are common criminal drug dealers, using the people of Afghanistan both as targets of their drugs and targets of their attacks.
This kingpin designation prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with Barich and also freezes any assets Barich may have under U.S. jurisdiction. Barich was previously named under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1988 Sanctions due to his support to the Taliban.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury worked closely with the Afghanistan Threat Finance Cell, a joint Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Defense, and Treasury support cell, to collect the information to support this determination under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.
Article by ISAF Joint Command