The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday blacklisted senior Taliban leader Mullah Naim Barich as a narcotics trafficking kingpin. Treasury's action prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with Barich and freezes any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction.
Barich is the "Shadow Governor" of Afghanistan's Helmand province, the largest opium-producing province in Afghanistan, and plays a significant role in trafficking poppy, which is used to make heroin and opium, Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said.
Barich, who also appears on the UN Security Council Resolution 1988 Sanctions List due to his role in the Taliban, in March ordered the group's commanders in Helmand province to do whatever they could to stop planned government-led poppy eradication operations, OFAC said.
It added that he told them they could plant improvised explosive devices, engage in combat with coalition forces, or bribe officials to protect the poppy
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