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How narcotics and terror are linked

By Vicky Nanjappa
June 24, 2008 14:30 IST
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Security agencies in India are now exploring the narcotics connection to terror outfits in India. Intelligence Bureau officials have alerted security agencies not to take any narcotics case lightly as they may be directly connected to terror related activities.

IB sources told that the best way to bust terror networks is to keep a close tab on the narcotics market. According to IB sources, the narcotics trade is one of the major sources of funding terror in India.

A comprehensive study based on IB information and intercepts shows a strong link between the narcotic trade and terror networks.

IB sources say 80 percent of the funding for terrorist organisations comes from the narcotics trade and fake currency rackets. The rest comes from foreign funds, mainly from Saudi Arabia.

Narcotic dealers too play a vital role in terror networks. Not only do they supply drugs and move consignments, they are also assigned the task of gathering information. While on the job get information on the movement of police forces and areas which can be targeted. Narcotic dealers are constantly creating new routes to supply drugs. The same routes are used to bring in arms and ammunition into the country.

Terror outfits also use the narcotics trade to recruit youth, IB sources say. Boys are first trained to supply narcotics and then they graduate to arms and ammunition and bomb making depending on their calibre.

How it all started?

According to an IB dossier, the entire narcotic-terror link began with 1993 Mumbai serial blasts accused Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim. The dossier states that the duo were not interested in treading the terror path, but it was the fear of losing business that forced them into this.

Both Memon and Ibrahim was actively involved in the narcotics trade, until Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence gave them an ultimatum that their supply into Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Gulf nations would be stopped if they refused to supply arms and ammunition for terror outfits in Pakistan. Initially Dawood refused but after suffering losses he along with Memon towed the ISI line.

The IB says that the ISI is active again and plans to take the fight against India to an entirely new level in the coming years. Hence the need to supply arms and ammunition to sleeper cells and other terror modules in the country.

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Vicky Nanjappa