CSTO wants to intensify anti-drug cooperation with NATO
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which comprises 7 countries of the former USSR, including Russia, wants to intensify cooperation with NATO in fighting drug trafficking from Afghanistan. Viktor Ivanov, director of Russia's Federal Drug Control Service, made this statement in Astana at a meeting of the head of the anti-drug agencies of the CSTO member-states.
The decision to strengthen anti-drug cooperation between the CSTO and NATO was taken at the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the CSTO countries, which was also held in Astana last week. The current statement by Viktor Ivanov sets the guidelines for the strategic partnership of the two organizations.
"If the CSTO member states take responsibility for fighting drug trafficking on their territories, NATO member states which have almost 250 000 troops deployed in Afghanistan should commit to fighting drug production on the territory of Afghanistan. This region accounts for 95% of global production of heroine and opium. We suggest that NATO troops in Afghanistan eliminate opium poppy plantations."
According to estimates of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service, the total area of opium poppy plantations in Afghanistan reaches about 130,000 hectares. If we divide the number of NATO troops by the number of hectares we will get 5 servicemen per hectare. Without spraying chemical substances or using tractors, but only working with a scythe it will take several hours to mow down all 130,000 hectares. The effect would be colossal. Hundreds of thousands of lives in Europe, Russia, Asia and even in North America will be saved.
Before the implementation of the initiative on the share of responsibility between the CSTO and NATO in fighting the Afghan drug production starts it should be approved on the highest level, Viktor Ivanov adds.
"It is important that our meeting is held on the eve of the several noticeable events – the 20th jubilee of the CSTO summit, which is to be held in Moscow on May 15, the G7 summit in the US in mid May and the G20 summit in Mexico in June. These are international forums where alongside issues of global economy, global threats are also considered and Afghan drug production is one of them. If these summits set the goal of liquidating the Afghan drug production we will be able to solve this problem by joint-efforts and then the decision of the share of areas of responsibility could be taken."
In autumn at the session of the UN Security Council the question of prolonging NATO’s international forces mandate in Afghanistan will be considered. It could be proposed that these forces are to be entrusted not only with the right to liquidate poppy fields but also with the responsibility of liquidating them. This would be a logical step to shape to the cooperation between CSTO and NATO, Viktor Ivanov says.