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KABUL, December 25, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia can train twice as many Afghan specialists to fight narcotics traffic, Sergei Naryshkin, the speaker of the State Duma lower house of Russian parliament, told reporters on Tuesday on the basis of his working visit to Kabul.
“We realize full welI in what a complicated situation Afghanistan is now,” the speaker said. “We are ready to give assistance, but we are aware that there are also opportunities for mutually advantageous cooperation,” he added.
Naryshkin pointed out that Russia helps Afghanistan train specialists for civilian areas. “Russia also helps Afghanistan train specialists for law enforcement bodies to fight narcotics trafficking. Five hundred specialists were trained in Russian educational establishments in the past few years,” the speaker said. “Russia is ready to train twice as many such specialists,” Naryshkin said.
He said narcotics trafficking “is one of the threats to Afghanistan and poses risks to entire region, also to Russia.” “The situation is not simple. Narcotics production increased 44 times in the twelve years that the International Security Assistance Force has been present in Afghanistan,” he said. “This is the theme of highly intensive and purposeful joint work,” Naryshkin holds.
The speaker of the State Duma pointed out that Afghan colleagues participate as observers in the Kanal [anti-drug] programme of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. “There is another programme to which we want to draw our Afghan friends: it is called the Caspian Star,” Naryshkin said. He also recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin had recently made an instruction to work out a programme of assistance to Afghanistan in counteracting drug trafficking.
Besides, the speaker said, Russia is ready to expand the military-technical cooperation with Afghanistan. “We are aware of the need and are ready to expand the military-technical cooperation with Afghanistan,” Naryshkin stressed. He specified that this refers to the earlier delivery of Mi-17 helicopters. “We are ready to continue supplying such helicopters and to provide maintenance,” he said.
The speaker also recalled that at the request of Afghanistan’s law enforcement bodies Russia delivered to Afghanistan a year ago a large consignment of fire arms - submachine guns and Kalashnikov machine guns. “There is a request for more such armaments now and, I think, the request will be met,” he said.