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Russia ready to help Afghanistan, coalition fight drug production

June 28, 2012, 6:11 UTC+3

Ivanov stressed the importance of undertaking “systemic measures of anti-drug diplomacy”

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NEW YORK, June 28 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia is seriously worried about the growing production of heroin and opium, 90 percent of which come from Afghanistan.

“Russia is ready to use all legal methods and means to help the Kabul authorities fight drug production,” Federal Service for Control of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (FSKN) First Deputy Head Vladimir Kalanda said.

“The main drug supplies are made through Central Asian states, and they go primarily to Russia. In order to stop that, it is necessary to eliminate their production in Afghanistan. This task is particularly pressing now that the international coalition troops will leave Afghanistan in 2014,” he said.

Kalanda participated in the drafting and presentation of the U.N. World Drug Report. He had meetings with his colleagues from other countries to discuss joint work and preparation of an international counter-narcotics forum to be held in Moscow in 2013. Delegations from 140 countries are expected to attend it.

FSKN chief Viktor Ivanov said earlier suggested creating an interactive map of Afghanistan in order to “mobilise the potential of literally all people around the world who have even the smallest bits of information on the location of drug laboratories, poppy fields, logistics and the criminals' whereabouts”, he said.

He also stressed the importance of a financial and economic blockade against drug production. Its scale now is determined not only by biological demand among drug users but also by financial demand in the banking system that became not only a beneficiary but largely a social customer of drug producers during the crisis, Ivanov said.

Ivanov also stressed the importance of undertaking “systemic measures of anti-drug diplomacy”.

“We have suggested starting a discussion at the U.N. Security Council on drug production in Afghanistan in order to assess its scale and work out relevant international decisions. It would be advisable to make this issue the subject matter of a special SCO conference in order to state our concerns, assessments and problems more specifically,” Ivanov said.

“Unfortunately the volume of drugs made in Afghanistan has not decreased. On the contrary, last year illegal production of opium increased by 61 percent and the area under opium poppy grew by about 7 percent. In addition, poppy yield increased. Annual damage to the world economy from Afghan drugs is estimated at about half a trillion U.S. dollars,” he said.

Ivanov noted that about 500 drug laboratories are concentrated in the mountain Badakhshan area, forming a large “heroin cluster” aimed at Russia. About 540 tonnes of Afghan drugs come to Russia every year.

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