Russia blames West for dropping joint anti-drug effort in Afghanistan

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-3-25 19:48:10

Moscow on Tuesday criticized Western countries for evading responsibility to fight drug-related issues in Afghanistan as they mulled quitting the Group of Eight (G8) over Crimea's accession to Russia.

"Liquidation of the G8 by the West was conducted at the moment when Russia in capacity of its chair has offered fighting with illegal drugs as a priority," head of the Federal Anti-drug Service (FSKN) Victor Ivanov told a press conference.

Leaders of the United States, Italy, Britain, Japan, France, Germany and Canada said Monday in the Hague they planned a G7 summit in Brussels in June instead of the scheduled G8 summit in Russia's Sochi. They also said Russia's participation in the G8 is suspended until Moscow changes course.

Ivanov described the decision as a "radical attempt" from the United States and NATO to shirk their responsibility for the skyrocketing growth of drugs production in Afghanistan.

Illegal drugs production in Afghanistan, he said, has grown 40 times since 2001, when the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) started the Enduring Freedom Operation in the country.

"The main result of the Enduring Freedom Operation is transformation of Afghanistan into a drug production zone of the global scale," the Interfax news agency quoted Ivanov as saying.

He specified that Afghanistan currently produces twice as much opium as the entire world produced 10 years ago.

The official, who was on Washington's sanction list released last week, noted that during 14 years of NATO presence in Afghanistan over one million people have died in Eurasia due to drugs abuse, half of whom are Russian citizens.

Ivanov stressed that drug trafficking has been a fundamental Eurasia-wide factor of destabilization, as it jeopardizes Russia and Europe's security, demography, genetic reserves and economic development.

The FSKN data shows that in Russia there are eight million drug addicts, with 70,000 of those dying every year.

Posted in: Europe

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