Fight against Afghan drugs should be new priority: Russian official

The official says struggle against Afghan drug production is threat to peace.

Updated: Nov 25, 2010, 14:25 PM IST

Beijing: Struggle against Afghan drug production is a key threat to peace and stability in the world, and it should become a new priority on the global agenda, a top Russian official told here.

"Over the past few years, Afghan drug production, originally a minor target of the anti-terrorist campaign in Afghanistan, has developed into a decisive factor, the dominant factor for instability in Central Asia,"
director of the federal drugs control service (FSKN), Viktor Ivanov, told an audience at the China Institute of International Studies.

"A reflection of this is seen in the UN Security Council`s official recognition of it as a threat to peace and stability in Resolution 1943 of October 13 this year."

"However, such a wording does not entail any legal consequences, and is only a prelude to meaningful legal definition of such threats," said Ivanov.

"Nine years ago the concept of `international terrorism` prompted us to support the US in its fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan," the FSKN chief recalled.

"As a result, on the one hand, there has been formed a strategic military stronghold for a huge force of 150,000 foreign military, stationed at 39 bases, and for another 100,000 armed employees of private military companies."

"On the other hand, large-scale drug production as a source of real terrorism in Central Asia was initiated from scratch," Ivanov said.

"The original concept of terrorism in Afghanistan, according to estimates by CIA director Leon Panetta, was eventually confined to half a hundred local supporters of al Qaeda," stated Ivanov. "In the meantime, Afghan drugs have killed more than one million people."

"The only significant result of this nine-year presence has been phenomenal drug production in Afghanistan that bring about in the Eastern Hemisphere a global traffic in opiates," said Ivanov.

PTI