BAKU (Trend)–In an extensive interview detailing the activities of the Azeri National Security Agency, its deputy minister Major General Ali Shafiyev announced Wednesday that last year 13 people were arrested on charges of spying for Armenia.
“Last year the Ministry neutralized 20 people involved in intelligence and damaging activities against Azerbaijan, and 13 of them were engaged in espionage in favor of Armenia, which occupied the territory of our country,” claimed the Shafiyev.
The deputy minister also called his agency “the most effective agency” that has fought terrorism and worked against international drug trafficking.
He also alleged that what he called the “occupied territories” were being used as major routes for international drug trafficking.
The minister accused the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic of being a security threat for Azerbaijan and Europe, claiming that the so-called “occupation” of Azeri territory by Armenia has resulted in what he alleged as the “misuse” of lands for the purposes of organized crime and drug trafficking.
But since the end of the Karabkh liberation struggle, the tight border security maintained by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s self-defense Army has put a hamper on the flow of opium from Azerbaijani ports in Baku and Sumgait. The security zone maintained around the liberated territories of Nagorno-Karabakh has effectively neutralized traditional drug transit routs to the Azeri enclave of Nakhichevan, a personal fiefdom of the current Azeri president Ilham Aliyev, and one of the most frequented routs for opium networks supplying heroin laboratories in Turkey. Nakhichevan, a historic Armenian territory has been under the jurisdiction of Azerbaijan since 1923.
Since 1995, When Aliyev’s father Haidar became president and brought the “Nakhichevan” clan to power, Opium has flowed into Azerbaijan from Afghanistan through the port of Sumgait, where it is transformed into heroin and taken on to Turkey by members of the Azeri Grey Wolves.
According to International experts Afghan-produced drugs reach Azerbaijan, through two main routes. One goes directly through Turkmen’stan and the Caspian Sea. Another crosses the 611-kilometer-long land border between Azerbaijan and Iran. A third suspected route is the flight path recently opened between Kabul and Baku, although the INL says there is so far no evidence to support that theory.
In the early 90s, the people of Karabakh fought a war of independence from Azerbaijan and expelled Azeri sponsored Afghan Mujahideen mercenaries that were funding terrorist raids against the local population via the Sumgait-Nakhichevan-Turkey drug trade.