by Tom Burghardt
Jan 1, 2009
When Afghan drug kingpin Haji Bashir Noorzai was arrested in New York in 2005, it set off a chain of events that continue to echo today.
A federal jury in Manhattan convicted Noorzai September 22, for his involvement in an international narcotics trafficking conspiracy that sold tens of millions of dollars of heroin on world markets. The drug lord now faces life in prison and will be sentenced on January 7.
But things aren’t always what they seem.
Noorzai, described by federal investigators and journalists as “the richest man in Afghanistan,” enjoyed close and cosy relations with the Taliban’s top leader Mullah Omar, al-Qaeda and Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence agency (ISI).
Indeed, Noorzai had become one of the capo tutti capos of Afghanistan’s flourishing heroin rackets and profited handsomely from the protection of his Taliban “friends,” his ISI mentors and allegedly the CIA.
The Washington Post reported December 27, that Noorzai’s New York arrest was aided by a private security outfit, Rosetta Research and Consulting, a firm founded in 2003 by two “businessmen” which the Post refuses to name “because of the sensitive nature of their undercover work.”