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Afghan Airline Accused of Smuggling Opium

By McCarton Ackerman 01/30/13

Afghanistan now threatens to sue the US military for blacklisting its biggest private airline.

Kam Air has been blacklisted by the
US military.
Photo via

US military has blacklisted Afghanistan's largest private airline after accusing them of trafficking opiates "in bulk" across Afghanistan and Central Asia, according to the Wall Street Journal. Earlier this month, Kam Air was banned by the US military's Central Command from bidding on contracts after the reported results of an investigation from Task Force 2010, the anti-corruption unit of the US-led coalition force in Afghanistan. However, US Army Maj-Gen. Richard Longo, the force's commander, declined to make these "classified" findings public. This has "outraged" Kam Air and the Afghan government; they say they were only notified of the ban by reading the WSJ report and have called on US authorities to share the information with Kabul. The government is now threatening to take legal action, claiming the accusations will affect Afghanistan's already weak economy. "We are taking this issue very seriously and will definitely take action if we find that Kam Air is smuggling drugs. But that's why the ministers' meeting is requesting the U.S. to share its evidence," says Aimal Faizi, spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai. "If the Afghan government is supposed to take action, the US should have shared this report with us before speaking to the media." Meanwhile, Kam Air has vehemently denied the allegations against them. "In our 10-year history, we have carried some six million passengers domestically and regionally, without a single reported incident of drug trafficking—however small," they said in a statement. "Few airlines—even in the U.S.—can boast such a record."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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