MOSCOW, April 2 (Itar-Tass) —— A NATO contingent might stay in Afghanistan to maintain security in the region after 2014, but economic measures are needed to fight against drug traffic from Afghanistan, Russia’s anti-drug chief Viktor Ivanov said on Monday.
In 2014, he reminded, responsibility for maintaining security will be handed over from the NATO forces to the Afghan government.
“The entire burden will rest on the Afghan government, which is still very weak. The country’s annual budget is 12 billion U.S. dollars, of which ten billion U.S. dollars are foreign aid,” Ivanov said. In his words, the years of combat operations have ruined the country’s economy, while “the vast drug production yields up to 65 billion U.S. dollars to the organized crime, a sum which exceeds the country’s budget.”
The United States Congress has already announced a decrease in the investments in the country, he noted. “We are worried over this situation. Afghanistan will not do without international assistance. The worse its economy is, the bigger drug production will be in the country,” Ivanov said.
He also said that according to information available to him, NATO forces might stay in the region as long as “it necessary to fulfill their tasks.”
“According to information of the Russian foreign ministry, Afghanistan has a military infrastructure and military forces might stay there,” he added.