Kam Air rejects US military’s opium smuggle allegations
By Sayed Jawad - Sat Jan 26 2013, 10:29 pm
Zamarai Kamgar chief of the Kamir Air following a press conference on Saturday once again denied the allegations.
He said, “We are requesting from the Afghan president Hamid Karzai to assist us in this regard and contact our international friends to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”
The allegations by US military officials state that Kam Air ferried “bulk” quantities of opium — the key ingredient in heroin — on civilian flights, the paper said.
A spokesman for ISAF, Nato’s armed force in Afghanistan, confirmed the report but declined to provide further details.
The US found discovered the alleged drug smuggling when it started scrutinising Kam Air after the airline sought a US contract, Richard Longo, the commander of Task Force 2010, a coalition anticorruption unit, told to the WSJ.
“These allegations have hurt the prestige of Kam Air as the best and most reliable Afghan private airline, we will demand clarification and compensation if the charges brought against us are not proved,” said Kamgar.
“We believe ISAF and others may have been misled and misinformed by the reportings of some of our rivals,” he said, suggesting that the claims may have originated from his competitor for US military contracts.
According to military officials interviewed by the WSJ, Kam Air smuggles the drug to Tajikistan, where it is distributed to the rest of the world.
Kam Air, the WSJ said, denies the charges. It’s not clear how much business the airline may lose as a result of the blacklisting; Kam Air is the first major Afghan company to be penalized by the US military over drug allegations, the WSJ said.