Russia-US to battle Afghan drug trade

November 1st, 2010 - 10:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Moscow, Nov 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia and the US have agreed with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to continue joint operations against the illegal drug trade in Afghanistan, an official said Monday.

Four drug labs and 900 kg of heroin, worth over $250 million, were destroyed Oct 28 in a joint operation by the Russian and US drug control services, said Viktor Ivanov, head of Russia’s drug watchdog.

The raid was criticized by Karzai, who said the operation infringed Afghanistan’s sovereignty.

Ivanov said all the issues had now been resolved with Karzai.

“The issues on the operation to destroy four drug laboratories were discussed (with Karzai), and we reached a mutual understanding,” Ivanov said.

Afghan drug production increased dramatically after the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban in 2001. Russia has been one of the most affected countries, with heroin consumption rising steeply.

An estimated 90 percent of heroin consumed in Russia is trafficked from Afghanistan via Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
snb/mr

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