Karzai claims Brown has threatened to withdraw British troops from Helmand province, where 31 of them have died this year, if the president reinstates two provincial governors sacked for alleged dealings in the heroin trade.
One of them is Sher Mohammed Akhundzada, the former governor of Helmand, who was forced out under British pressure two years ago after nine tons of opium and heroin were discovered in his basement. Karzai’s plan to reinstate the governors has alarmed western diplomats in Kabul and dismayed British officials.
However, the Taliban have made advances since Akhundzada’s departure and drug production has increased. Karzai believes Britain’s “interference” is to blame.