MOSCOW, April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization /CSTO/ Nikolai Bordyuzha believes that the International Security Assistance Force /ISAF/ in Afghanistan was not tasked with combating drug-trafficking in the country, in order not to create more problems for itself.
"If the drug mafia had sided with the Taliban - and drug traffickers have armed groups of their own, as well as funding things would be worse there than they are now," Bordyuzha said in an interview with Itar-Tass. "They just didn't want to tempt that quite powerful force in Afghanistan, focusing only on the Taliban, without handling the drug mafia."
While stating that the main task was to deal with armed Taliban groups, the NATO countries took ostrich stance. "Meanwhile, the drug mafia was developing its production, perfecting their smuggling channels. At present, it has a rather ramified network which is difficult to fight," Bordyuzha underlined.
The CSTO repeatedly offered NATO to cooperate in combating Afghan drug trafficking. "We told them repeatedly: let's work together: you'll do it from the Afghan territory and we'll do it from border areas. Let's work on the drug mafia," the CSTO chief said. "We don't mention other problems understanding that you find it disadvantageous and that it's easier for you to catch fish in troubled waters, but let's shut down drug production at least. Yet they did not agree."
He underlined that drug trafficking fight was priority for CSTO member-states. For example, the drug-smuggling routes are in the zone responsibility of CSTO special task forces. "In addition, the CSTO is setting up a center for special anti-drug trafficking operations per decision approved by our presidents," Bordyuzha said.
Earlier, director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Lt-Gen Leonid Reshetnikov said drug trafficking had increased by 40 times during NATO presence in Afghanistan and that a considerable portion of narcotics was smuggled through Russia.