Largest Afghan narcotrafficker was CIA, DEA informant
December 15, 2010 4 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The history of operational collision between the Central Intelligence Agency and illicit narcotics traders is both long and largely documented. But new revelations published in The New York Times this week come to add a new chapter in this ever-expanding saga. The revelations this time concern Haji Juma Khan, perhaps the most notorious of Afghanistan’s drug lords, who has been described by US federal officials as arguably the most dangerous narcotrafficker in Central Asia. In 2008, Khan was finally arrested in New York, where he was charged with conspiracy to fund terrorist operations through trading in narcotics. American prosecutors allege that Khan literally “helped keep the Taliban in business”, providing them with weapons and cash on a systematic basis. But The Times reveal that, over a number of years, Khan also acted as an informant for both the CIA and the Drug Enforcement Administration and was “paid a large amount of cash” in return for his services. The paper says that it is not clear why the US government suddenly decided to reverse course and arrest Juma Khan, after enticing him to come to New York for talks with American intelligence officials. There are suggestions that Khan repeatedly failed to provide actionable intelligence comparable to his stature and importance in the criminal underworld. There are also indications that he became too brazen in his commercial and military dealings with the Taliban, eventually forcing the CIA and the DEA to drop him from their list of protected assets. What is certain is that neither DEA nor CIA officials are currently prepared to discuss the reasons behind Khan’s arrest. When contacted by The Times, both agencies simply responded that they do not comment on cases being tried before US courts.