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VIENNA, February 20 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia's Federal Service for Control of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (FSKN) deputy chief Oleg Safonov called for using modern digital technologies for fighting Afghan drug trafficking.
He referred to Russia’s initiative Digital Poppy Road Map which calls for drawing an interactive map that will accumulate all information about drug production in Afghanistan. The map will show infrastructure facilities used for making and selling drugs – opium poppy fields, opium bazaars, drug laboratories, warehouses, and transportation routes.
“The purpose of the project is to present online information in one place but it should be updated and supplied constantly by all members of the international community. This will make it possible to identify and localise concrete places where drugs are made, move on to a new level of understanding the problem. A public placement of the map will make it possible to coordinate the work of the relevant bodies in the right against drug trafficking and will also make relations and cooperation between key international players in the fight against the Afghan drug threat more transparent,” Safonov said at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners on Monday, February 20.
He stressed the need to “register all agricultural land in Afghanistan”.
“Every plot of land where opium poppy grows has a concrete owner who can be brought to account for illegal cultivation of this plant. Such plot of land can be expropriated pursuant to the relevant legal norms, and its own can be punished. The use of effective measures against the owners of plots of land where opium poppy is grown will make anti-narcotic programmes more targeted and ties not to some abstract territories in provinces but to concrete people involved in drug production,” Safonov said.
“Anti-drug programmes in Afghanistan are strongly motivated ideologically. All these strategies are related to the Taliban movement. But the Taliban is a minority beneficiary, even the U.S. Department of State says so. They get no more than 150 million U.S. dollars of 50 billion U.S. dollars that end up in the pockets of dealers who trade in Afghan heroin. As a result, powerful criminal groups with funds exceeding the budgets of some states remain outside of international attention. Where does this money go? Undoubtedly, such powerful resources are not used for bribing government officials, but they are used for influencing the policy of whole countries and possibly even international organisations,” he said