Afghan president condemns US-Russia drugs operation

Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded an explanation from NATO`s command in Afghanistan for a drugs raid carried out by the United States and Russia without his government`s permission.

Last Updated: Oct 30, 2010, 21:57 PM IST

Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded an explanation from NATO`s command in
Afghanistan for a drugs raid carried out by the United States
and Russia without his government`s permission.

"No organisation or institution has the right to carry
out such military operations inside the territory of our
country without permission and agreement from the Islamic
Government of Afghanistan," a statement from his office said.

"Afghanistan condemns this act by NATO and announces
that such unilateral operations are a clear violation of
Afghan sovereignty as well as international law, and any
repetition will be met by the required reaction from our
side."

The statement said Karzai had ordered an investigation
by the ministries of defence and interior, to report back to
him by tonight.

Moscow`s senior drugs control official said yesterday
that Russia and the United States had destroyed four drug
laboratories in their first joint anti-drug operation in
Afghanistan.

The raid netted more than a tonne of heroin and
morphine worth USD 250 million, as well as equipment, Viktor
Ivanov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

The report said Afghan interior ministry officials
were involved in the operation.

Russia frequently criticises what it describes as the
inadequate anti-drug policies of United States and NATO forces
in Afghanistan, leading to an increased flow of drugs into
Russia through Central Asia.

Ivanov travelled to Washington last week to discuss
co-operation in fighting drug trafficking and accused the
United States of failing to destroy heroin laboratories and
crack down on poppy-growing landowners.

Russian drug control authorities have estimated that
30,000 Russians died in 2009 from using Afghan heroin, and
that a million have died in the past decade.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen is due to visit
Russia next week for talks on deepening Russian cooperation on
Afghanistan, his spokesman said.

Rasmussen plans to meet President Dmitry Medvedev on
November 5 to see if the two sides can "move forward" on a
NATO request for Moscow to provide around 20 helicopters to
Afghan forces, said spokesman James Appathurai.

Russia already assists in the training of
counter-narcotics officials outside Moscow to combat the
Afghan heroin trade.

"There will be work to see if we can enhance our
cooperation in training counter-narcotics officials,"
Appathurai added.

PTI