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MOSCOW, March 28. /ITAR-TASS/. US refusal to cooperate with Russia in fighting against drug trafficking “is clearly a political decision, which gives a picture of the US administration’s insolent attitude toward the real present-day challenges,” Lieutenant-General Alexander Mikhailov, a well-known expert in Russia on the fight against the drug threat, said in an interview with ITAR-TASS.
The US White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy on Thursday cited Moscow’s position on Ukraine and Crimea's accession to Russia as the ground for such unprecedented measure.
Viktor Ivanov, the chief of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, said earlier that US suspension of cooperation with Russia would be first of all beneficial for drug dealers.
“This cannot be considered otherwise as a radical method of the United States and NATO to avoid shouldering responsibility for the 40-fold growth of drug production in Afghanistan since the moment of occupation of this long-suffering country by US and NATO troops in 2001,” Ivanov said on Tuesday in Moscow addressing a session of international experts on the fight against drugs trafficking.
The situation with drugs production in Afghanistan may deteriorate further following the withdrawal of NATO troops from the war-torn country. An analytical center with Moscow’s MGIMO University predicts a higher threat of terrorism and drugs trafficking after the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan. New combinations of threats may emerge as well and for instance terrorists and drug dealers may intensify their interaction in the north of Afghanistan, in Central Asian countries and even in Russia.
Russian experts are puzzled with the fact that White House’s political ambitions go as far as putting in danger the sphere of cooperation, which served for thwarting the threat to all humanity.
Mikhailov, who held the post of the deputy chairman of the Russian state committee on control of drugs turnover in 2003-2008, believes that Washington uses the situation in Ukraine as a pretext to ‘wash hands’ and avoid responsibility for the surge in drug production in Afghanistan.
“The thing is that the United States was not very enthusiastic about fighting drug dealers in Afghanistan. Their raids on heroin laboratories were symbolic, but on the whole they did not want to do anything and kept neutral referring to the UN mandate, which permitted Americans only fighting against terrorists,” Mikhailov said.
“Americans were well aware that the threat of drugs trafficking from Afghanistan across Central Asia worried Russia in the first place,” he said. “Americans were more concerned with drugs inflow from the Latin America.”
“In Afghanistan, Americans dropped the country’s economy to zero level and are now leaving only ruins behind. There are no oil or natural gas deposits in the country and drugs remain the top-selling item for local villagers. The situation will remain unchanged and the high level of heroin production and its transportation across the borders will maintain, until Afghanistan restores its economy, education and medicine,” Mikhailov said.
“The most important thing is that nobody knows who would be at the helm in Afghanistan and therefore the issue of instability in the region will remain in the long perspective. Central Asian countries will be now seeking protection with Russia against Taliban militants,” he added.
Following Washington’s decision to suspend cooperation with Moscow on the fight against drugs trafficking, the Russian Federal Drug Control Service announced plans of expanding cooperation in this sphere with member states of the BRICS organization, which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
“As experience proves, we need to really rely, first of all, on BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - and countries neighboring drug producing regions as they are free of obligations and secret decisions of NATO’s military and political bureau,” service’s chief Ivanov said.
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