An accused heroin kingpin has been arrested and indicted in a massive narcotics conspiracy involving Afghanistan's former Taliban regime, U.S. Attorney David N. Kelley said Monday.
The U.S. indictment alleges that Haji Bashir Noorzai led an international trafficking ring based in Afghanistan and Pakistan that transported at least $50 million worth of heroin to the United States and other countries.
Kelley said Noorzai "provided demolitions, weaponry and militia manpower to the Taliban," the Islamic fundamentalist group that ruled Afghanistan until a U.S.-led invasion toppled it in 2001 and that allowed al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, to live and train in the country.
In exchange, the Taliban "served as protection for Noorzai's opium crops, heroin laboratories and drug transportation routes out of the country," Kelley said.
"Noorzai and the Taliban had a symbiotic relationship."