Outgoing Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi slammed on Monday the scourge of drugs in Iraq.
During a meeting with senior security leaders in Iraq on Monday, he said the phenomenon has for years raised deep popular and official concerns given its rapid spread in the country, especially in southern governorates.
Addressing an expanded meeting of security chiefs, held at the headquarters of the Joint Operations Command in Baghdad, Kadhimi said: “The security services and armed forces have a shared responsibility to protect our country and society from drugs and uncontrolled weapons, which are major challenges that require more efforts.”
He called on the Border Guard Command in the Ministry of Interior to strengthen measures in order to prevent drug smuggling, underlining the need to “eradicate this scourge that is destroying the social fabric.”
Iraq’s southern border with Iran is a preferred route for drug trafficking to the rest of the provinces. The Iraqi authorities are still unable to deter drug smuggling gangs due to border chaos and the lack of adequately trained and equipped forces, according to some security sources.
The Iraqi authorities have reiterated their intention to establish a “narcotics control agency” similar to the anti-terrorist agency that operates within the Iraqi security forces. Two weeks ago, Hakem al-Zamili, the first deputy speaker of Parliament, said that drugs “are no less dangerous than ISIS, and the community has begun to sense their threat.”
On Sunday, the Federal Intelligence and Investigations Agency announced the detention of six persons suspected of drug trafficking in the Najaf province.
In a statement, the agency said that the confessions of a drug trafficker have led to the arrest of six other persons, “who are among the most prominent drug dealers in Najaf.”