ISLAMABAD Foreign troops in Afghanistan had smuggled heroin and other drugs through Pakistan until 2009 when the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) started random checking of the returning shipping containers after offloading goods in the war-ravaged country. Background discussions and interviews with the US diplomats, senior customs and shipping executives as well as tribal sources on the Pak-Afghan border suggest that the multinational foreign troops posted in Afghanistan during 2004-2009 had massively misused shipping containers transited through Pakistan during this period. The foreign troops deployed in Afghanistan during 2004-2009 had fully exploited what the sources described as 'blind five years when there had been no checking of the hundreds and thousands of Afghanistan bound and returning shipping containers transited through Pakistan. Pakistan was forced to remove its customs check posts on Pak-Afghan border in 2004, sources in the customs told TheNation on condition of anonymity, admitting there has been no checking of the shipping containers transiting through Pakistan until 2009, and these belonged to the countries having their troops in Afghanistan. They however made it clear that all the shipping containers transited through Pakistan under the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement were duly accounted for and checked. There has been misuse of the shipping containers, they maintained but had conflicting views over the nature and scale of the offences relating to the misuse of these boxes. It was further learnt through credible diplomatic sources that there has been no centralised mechanism placed either by the US military or the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan to make these containers accounted far as each and every country having their troops followed varied procedures. Knowledgeable tribal sources said that they were not aware of the amount of the drugs smuggled through shipping containers belonging to the foreign troops, but were certain about the offences committed by the foreign troops. Sources in the shipping industry said that the returning containers from Afghanistan to Pakistan for onward shipments had no customs clearance; therefore it was difficult to ascertain the manifest. However, diplomatic sources contested that returning shipping containers from Afghanistan had either carried the personal belongings of the troops or their military equipment.