Some 300 homing pigeons carry up to 500 kilograms of heroin a year from Afghanistan to Pakistan, SANA agency says referring to sources in the Pakistani law enforcement bodies.
Drug dealers buy carrier-pigeons in Pakistani towns and bring the birds to their farms in Pakistan's north-western border province inhabited by Pashtoons and considered a Klondike for drug dealers. When birds get used to their new home they are given to Afghan refugees returning from Pakistan to their motherland every day. They take cages with pigeons across the border for scanty pay.
In Afghanistan pigeons are taken by local heroin dealers. They fasten a light metallic tube with 10 grams of heroin to a bird's leg and let the bird fly. The bird crosses the border and flies to its dovecote.
According to SANA data, thus an owner of 6-8 pigeons can get up to 2 kilograms of heroin a month. At European markets it will cost some 300,000 dollars.
Last year saw the record yield of opium poppy in Afghanistan - 3,400 tons. UN experts forecast that some 6 tons of drugs will be produced in this country in 2003. According to UN data, new heroin-producing laboratories were created in Afghanistan's south and east in a year.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.