World

FARC, Taliban are Among Largest Drug Traffickers, Official Says

  • Soldiers board a helicopter in Guerima, in the eastern province of Vichada, Colombia, Wednesday March 9, 2011.  (AP Photo/William Fernando Martinez)

    Soldiers board a helicopter in Guerima, in the eastern province of Vichada, Colombia, Wednesday March 9, 2011. (AP Photo/William Fernando Martinez)

  • Soldiers board a helicopter in Guerima, in the eastern province of Vichada, Colombia, Wednesday March 9, 2011. Suspected leftist rebels released early Tuesday, 22 of 23 Colombian contractors abducted while doing exploratory work in the remote jungle region for the Canadian oil company Talisman.  (AP Photo/William Fernando Martinez)

    Soldiers board a helicopter in Guerima, in the eastern province of Vichada, Colombia, Wednesday March 9, 2011. Suspected leftist rebels released early Tuesday, 22 of 23 Colombian contractors abducted while doing exploratory work in the remote jungle region for the Canadian oil company Talisman. (AP Photo/William Fernando Martinez)

As the drug war against the cartels continues on in Mexico, a top U.S. State Department anti-narcotics official says Colombia's leftist rebels and the Taliban are among the world's largest drug-trafficking organizations.

Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield says that drug-trafficking organizations have aligned with political and ideological movements in recent decades, citing the followers of Osama bin Laden and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as examples.

"I am not saying the only reason these organizations exist is to traffic drugs, but I am saying that we can no longer separate these political organizations from drug trafficking ideologies," Brownfield said during a conference sponsored by the DEA.

Brownfield addressed representatives of more than 100 countries Thursday at the annual International Conference for Drug Control in Cancun.

"In 1979, we thought the drug problem could be tackled as a problem of supply and solved entirely by the justice system.   We thought that we didn't need to involve the entire government. We were wrong.  It's a problem that involves economics, politics, security, diplomacy, health, education and cultural aspects," he added.

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Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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