Thai authorities kill 7 drug suspects near border

Updated 16 July 2012
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Thai authorities kill 7 drug suspects near border

BANGKOK: Thai security forces killed seven suspected drug smugglers from Myanmar early Monday in a gunbattle that was Thailand’s deadliest drug-related incident in three years, police said. Myanmar, meanwhile, reported a major seizure of methamphetamine near its border with China.
UN and US drug experts say Myanmar, especially Shan state in the country’s east, is a major producer of amphetamine-type stimulants. Thailand and China are large markets for the drug.
Thai police Maj. Gen. Surachet Thopunyanon said investigators who had been tipped off and were waiting at a border crossing for several days caught members of a drug gang as they entered Thailand’s Chiang Rai province. He said the suspects refused to stop and a shootout ensued in which seven were killed.
Surachet said police seized 520,000 methamphetamine pills and 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of crystalline methamphetamine and are still hunting for other suspects who escaped the scene, about 735 kilometers (455 miles) north of Bangkok.
Myanmar’s state-controlled Kyemon newspaper, meanwhile, said police there seized 73 kilograms (161 pounds) of crystal meth and hundreds of kilograms (pounds) of drug-making chemicals worth 3.14 billion kyat ($3.6 million) in a raid July 9 on a house in the town of Laukkai near the Chinese border.
It said nine people were arrested, including the homeowner, a member of the ethnic Kokang minority. Laukkai, 500 miles (800 kilometers) northeast of Yangon, is under the authority of the Kokang.
Myanmar traditionally has been one of the world’s biggest producers of opium and its derivative, heroin, but in recent years drug gangs affiliated with ethnic minority groups have also been making methamphetamine in border areas under little control by the state.


Ghani says truce is key for peace in Afghanistan

Updated 15 min 28 sec ago

Ghani says truce is key for peace in Afghanistan

  • In order to reach real peace, a cease-fire must happen and bloodshed must stop, Ghani says

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Saturday that his government was ready for reconciliation with the Taliban and that a cease-fire was essential for real peace in Afghanistan.

“In order to reach real peace, a cease-fire must happen and bloodshed must stop,” Ghani said in a televised address marking International Day of Peace. “If the Taliban agree to peace, we do not want continuation of the war even for a single moment,” he said.

Ghani, who is standing for re-election in the presidential polls next week, said that peace has turned from a distant dream to a close reality.

“If the Taliban agree to peace, we do not want continuation of the war even for a single moment.”

Ashraf Ghani, Afghan president

He added the best solution for the current crisis was political participation and supporting the upcoming election. His comments follow a statement by US President Donald Trump two weeks ago, when he abruptly canceled talks with the Taliban following an attack in which one US soldier and 10 civilians died in Kabul. The cancelation of the talks came as both the US and the Taliban were close to inking an agreement after nearly a year of discussions in Qatar, which excluded Ghani’s government. 

Trump said on Saturday that he called off the meeting at Camp David because the group couldn’t agree to a cease-fire. The Taliban has repeatedly spoken about the desire for the resumption of talks with Washington, but reiterated their threat to derail the elections. Ghani’s government said its focus for now was the election, but added that the peace process would be its top priority after the vote.

“We are committed to peace,” Ghani’s chief spokesman, Sediq Seddiqi, told Arab News. “In terms of policy it is still a top priority for President Ghani.”