US, Russia carry out anti-drug operation in Afghanistan

Drugs worth $1 bn were destroyed in the operation carried out on Thursday.

Updated: Oct 29, 2010, 16:59 PM IST

Moscow: In their first-ever joint anti-drug operation in Afghanistan, the drug enforcement agencies of Russia and the US have destroyed three heroin laboratories, a top Russian drug control official said on Friday.

Drugs worth USD 1 billion were destroyed in the operation carried out last night with the help of nine helicopter gunships of the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, chief of Russia`s Federal Drug Control Service
Viktor Ivanov told reporters here.

The operation was carried out about five km from the Pakistani border and involved personnel from the Russian Drug Control, Afghan Interior Ministry and the US Commando, he said.

"As a result of this operation, four drug laboratories were eliminated. Three of them were heroin laboratories, and one was a morphine laboratory," Ivanov said at a joint press meet with the Deputy Chief of the Mission (DCM) of the US embassy Eric Rubin.

No further details of the joint operation were provided.

Ivanov said that Narco-barons, whose labs were destroyed near the Pakistani border, are not in a position to pose a threat to Russia or the US.

Over 900 kg of heroin equivalent to 200 million doses were destroyed in the highly professional operation carried out by the drug agencies of the two countries, the official said.

"This investigation is a very concrete example of real cooperation. We cannot succeed alone," Ivanov said.

Praising the joint efforts by Russian and US anti-drug services, he said the effective work of a Russian-US presidential commission in the sphere of combating drug trafficking was a good example of a "reset" in relations between the two countries.

Ivanov, however, admitted that drug infrastructure in Afghanistan was expanding. "The number of drug laboratories in the country has increased by almost 2, five times in the past two years, from 175 in 2008 to 425 in 2010."