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    Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan could curb Afghan drug flow - official

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    Russia's drug chief proposed on Monday the building of a military base in Kyrgyzstan as part of global efforts to combat Afghan drug trafficking.

    Russia's drug chief proposed on Monday the building of a military base in Kyrgyzstan as part of global efforts to combat Afghan drug trafficking.

    "My proposal is to set up a Russian military base on the territory of Kyrgyzstan. In my opinion, this will allow effective work towards cutting of drug channels in this country," Viktor Ivanov said.

    Russia already has an airbase in the northern Kyrgyz town of Kant, 20 km from the capital, Bishkek.

    Ivanov said drug barons had played a part in last week's violent clashes between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan, which Kyrgyz interim president Roza Otunbayeva said may have caused the deaths of as many as 2,000 people.

    "The situation in the region had been brewing for a long time," Ivanov said. "Kyrgyzstan plays host to large-scale trafficking of opiates. The Bashkent region, Osh, Jalalabad and the Fergana Valley in general are heavily involved in drug trafficking."

    Afghan drug production increased dramatically after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban in 2001. Russia has been one of the countries most affected by the increase.

    MOSCOW, June 21 (RIA Novosti)

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