Narco Aggression: Russia accuses the U.S. military of involvement in drug trafficking out of Afghanistan
By Vladimir Radyuhin
Global Research, February 24, 2008
Afghan workers cutting open poppy bulbs, the first stage in the harvesting process, in Jalalabad.
Could it be that the American military inis involved in drug trafficking? Yes, it is quite possible, according to s Ambassador to Zamir Kabulov.
Commenting on reports that the United States military transport aviation is used for shipping narcotics out of, the Russian envoy said there was no smoke without fire.
If such actions do take place they cannot be undertaken without contact with Afghans, and if one Afghan man knows this, at least a half ofwill know about this sooner or later, Kabulov told Vesti, s 24-hour news channel. That is why I think this is possible, but cannot prove it.
Afghan narcotics are an extremely painful issue for. They first hit the Russian market during the Soviet occupation of in the 1980s when Russian soldiers developed a taste for Afghan heroin and smuggled it back to .
The disintegration of thein December 1991 threw open the floodgates of drug trafficking from across Central Asia to and further west to . Afghanistans narcotics struck like a tsunami, threatening to decimate its already shrinking population. According to the Federal Drug Control Service, 90 per cent of all heroin sold in comes from . Russia today has about six million drug-users a 20-fold increase since the and a huge figure for a country of 142 million people.
The Federal Drug Control Service said earlier in January that as many as 30 to 40 million people inmay have tried drugs at least once. Annually, some 80,000 Russians die of drug-related causes. One in five crimes committed in is related to drugs. The illegal drug turnover in is estimated at between $10 and $15 billion, discounting transit trafficking.
Narcotics have become an integral part of the youth subculture in
When thebroke up into 15 independent states, overnight lost control of nearly 5,000 kilometres of former Soviet borders in Central Asia and the Caucasus. At the same time, nearly 8,000 km of what used to be internal nominal boundaries between ex-Soviet republics became s new state borders.
In 1993, Russian border guards returned toin an effort to contain the flow of drugs from opium-producing . In 2002 alone they intercepted 6.7 tonnes of drugs, half of them heroin. However, in 2005 Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon, hoping to win financial aid from the U.S., asked the Russian border guards to leave, saying had recovered enough from a five-year civil war (from 1992-97) to shoulder the task. Within months of the Russian withdrawal, cross-border drug trafficking increased manifold.
, another major opium route from , threw out Russian border guards in 1999. Since 2000, has reported no drug seizures to international organisations. President Saparmurat Niyazov, who died last year, claimed his country had no drug problem. However, independent surveys indicate that up to half of s male population use drugs. In 2002, the countrys Prosecutor-General Kurbanbibi Atadzhanova was arrested for operating a drug-trafficking ring.
Seventeen years after the break-up of the, borders between the newly independent states are still porous and travel is visa-free. Air passengers arriving from Central Asia are routinely screened for drugs in Russian airports, but if drugs are shipped by land, there is only a remote chance that they get intercepted.
under the U.S.
Whenbacked the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan to crush the and in the post-9/11 scenario, the last thing it expected to happen was that drug trafficking from would assume gargantuan proportions under the . Since 2001, poppy fields, once banned by the , have mushroomed again. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, produced 8,200 tonnes of opium last year, enough to make 93 per cent of the worlds heroin supply.
The U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [NATO] forces in the country have not only failed to eliminate the terrorist threat from the, but also presided over a spectacular rise in opium production. s said was on the brink of becoming a narco state.
Narco business has emerged as virtually the only economy ofand is valued at some $10 billion a year. Opium trade is estimated by the U.N. to be equivalent to 53 per cent of the countrys official economy and is helping to finance the .
Unfortunately, they  are doing nothing to reduce the narcotic threat from even a tiny bit, Putin angrily remarked three years ago. He accused the coalition forces of sitting back and watching caravans haul drugs across to the former Soviet Union and . As time went by, Russian suspicions regarding the U.S. role in the rise of a narco state in grew deeper, especially after reports from said that the cultivation of opium poppies was spreading rapidly there too.
The Americans are working hard to keep narco business flourishing in both countries, says Mikhail Khazin, president of the consultancy firm Niakon. They consistently destroy the local infrastructure, pushing the local population to look for illegal means of subsistence. And the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] provides protection to drug trafficking.
U.S. freelance writer Dave Gibson recalled in an article published in American Chronicle in December what a U.S. foreign intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told NewsMax.com in March 2002 of the CIAs record of involvement with the international drug trade. The official said: The CIA did almost the identical thing during the , which had catastrophic consequences the increase in the heroin trade in the USA beginning in the 1970s is directly attributable to the CIA. The CIA has been complicit in the global drug trade for years, so I guess they just want to carry on their favourite business.
Nowhas joined the fray accusing the of involvement in the heroin trafficking from to . The Vesti channels report from said that drugs from were hauled by American transport aircraft to the U.S. airbases Ganci in and Incirlik in Turkey.
The Ganci Air Force base at the Manas international airport inwas set up in late 2001 as a staging post for military operations inside . The Kyrgyz government threatened to close the base after neighbouring shut down a similar U.S. airbase on its territory in 2005, but relented after agreed to make a one-off payment of $150 million in the form of an assistance package and to pay $15 million a year for the use of the base.
One of the best-informed Russian journalists on Central Asia, Arkady Dubnov, recently quoted anonymous Afghan sources as saying that 85 per cent of all drugs produced in southern and southeastern provinces are shipped abroad by U.S. aviation.
A well-informed source in Afghanistans security services told the Russian journalist that the American military acquired drugs through local Afghan officials who dealt with field commanders in charge of drug production.
Writing in the Vremya Novostei daily, Dubnov claimed that the pro-Western administration of, including his two brothers, Kajum Karzai and Akhmed Vali Karzai, are head-to-heels involved in the narcotics trade.
The article quoted a leading U.S. expert on, Barnett Rubin, as telling an anti-narcotics conference in Kabul last October that drug dealers had infiltrated Afghani state structures to the extent where they could easily paralyse the work of the government if decision to arrest one of them was ever made.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Richard Holbrooke said in January that government officials, including some with close ties to the presidency, are protecting the drug trade and profiting from it.
In an article carried by, the diplomat described the $1-billion-a-year U.S. counter-narcotics effort in as the single most ineffective programme in the history of American foreign policy.
…….Nikolai Bordyuzha, CSTO Secretary-General, quoted ageneral as telling him: We are not fighting narcotics because this is not our task in .
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