U.S. suspends blacklisting of Afghan airline

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Kabul, Afghanistan (4E) – The U.S. military has suspended the blacklisting of an Afghan airline suspected of smuggling opium to Tajikistan as the Kabul government agreed to investigate the allegation.

The United States Central Command Theater of Operations (CENTCOM), which blacklisted Kam Air last month, recalled its decision Monday, International Security Assistance Force spokesman Col. Thomas Collins said on Tuesday.

The decision was made following talks between United States Forces-Afghanistan and Afghan officials at the Foreign Ministry in Kabul on Saturday. But the blacklisting could be reinstated if Kabul fails to conduct the investigation on Kam Air, according to a defense official who requested anonimity.

Afghan officials only learned of the blacklisting of Kam Air on a report by the Wall Street Journal that CENTCOM barred contracting the airline’s services after learning that opium in bulk quantities were carried on its civilian flights to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.

Collins said CENTCOM will share its evidence with Afghan investigators.

Kam Air President Zemarai Kamgar welcomed CENTCOM’s move and promised to cooperate in the investigation.

The airline had denied the allegations of drug trafficking.

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