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MOSCOW, January 20 (RIA Novosti) – Afghanistan blasted Russia for what it said was inadequate assistance in Afghanistan’s fight against drugs production.
Afghan Deputy Counter-Narcotics Minister Ibrahim Azhar commented on the recent statement by Russia’s drug control chief Viktor Ivanov who said that drugs production and the areas sown with drugs had only expanded over 11 years of the stay of the NATO-led military contingent in Afghanistan.
“They make these loud statements to maintain their image and confidence in them… These statements have been made before but have not resulted in any success,” he told the Pajhwok Afghan news agency.
“The demand for Afghan-made drugs in Russia is extremely large but Russians have not done any fundamental work to counter this threat.”
A total of 375 tons of heroin are smuggled from Afghanistan to other countries annually, of which over 95 tons go to Russia, the deputy minister said.
Afghanistan and Russia are currently holding consultations on improving the anti-narcotics legislation, exchanging intelligence data and holding joint successful operations to liquidate drugs labs but “this is not enough,” Azhar said.
“The long war years and economic difficulties have forced some residents of Afghanistan to grow and produce drugs. In the wake of this, radical and urgent measures are required to expand and implement the projects of countering drugs production but Russia has failed to succeed in this area,” he said.
Despite the efforts by the Afghan Counter-Narcotics and Interior Ministries, Afghanistan remains the world leader in drugs production, he said.
Afghan drug production increased dramatically after the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban in 2001, and Russia has been one of the most affected countries, with heroin consumption rising steeply.
According to Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service, there has been a forty-fold increase in heroin production in Afghanistan over the past ten years.
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If attempts to drag Russia into a direct military conflict in Ukraine are successful, it would be a catastrophe for Russia comparable to the 1979-1989 Afghan war. There is no direct evidence that the US is trying to bring about a second Afghan war, but indirect evidence abounds.