MOSCOW, May 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday criticized the international US-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) for doing too little to eradicate heroin production in the Central Asian state.
“The international forces are doing practically nothing to eradicate drug production in Afghanistan,” Putin said at a meeting of the Russian Security Council. He said that there had been “a significant increase in drug production on Afghan territory and emerging sustainable drug trafficking routes to other countries, regretfully including Russia.”
Russia remains highly concerned about the persistant threat of terrorism and drug trafficking from Afghanistan, particularly after international combat troops leave in 2014. According to Russia’s federal drug control watchdog, heroin production in Afghanistan rose 40-fold in the past decade.
Afghan-produced heroin accounts for the vast majority of the heroin consumed in Russia, where some 30,000 die from heroin abuse every year, accounting for around one-third of all heroin-related deaths worldwide. NGOs estimate that there are up to three million heroin addicts in the country.
Moscow’s proposals on how to alleviate the Afghan drug threat remain unanswered, the Russian president said.
Putin said that the Russian government has no plans to end its assistance to the war-torn country and that Russian state and private companies are ready to be involved in projects to rebuild the country’s economy and infrastructure.
“We cooperate both on a bilateral level and as part of international efforts. We help Afghanistan to train civilian, military and police specialists and we send humanitarian aid,” he said. “We will continue this policy.”
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia expects ISAF to report on the results of its mission after withdrawing from Afghanistan.
“We supported an operation to eradicate the terrorist threat in Afghanistan, and added that attention should also be paid to the drug threat. And we assume that if the international forces have decided to withdraw, then they apparently think that they are ready to report to the UN Security Council about accomplishing their mandate, issued by the UN Security Council in 2001,” Lavrov said. “And we, of course, are expecting such a report.”
Speaking about the situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of international forces, Lavrov said that Russia has made plans to use all available opportunities and channels for future action, including those provided by bilateral agreements with Afghanistan. Russia also plans to cooperate on the issue with its partners from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), he said.