Russia should close the cargo transit for the United States and NATO to Afghanistan until they start destroying poppy plantations there, a Russian lawmaker said on Wednesday.
“NATO and the United States are not interested in combating drug trafficking in Afghanistan,” said Semyon Bagdasarov, a member of the State Duma International Affairs Committee.
Moscow has criticized U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan for failing to eradicate heroin production and warned over the weekend that drug trafficking was endangering Russia’s national security.
Russia says production of heroin in Afghanistan has increased almost tenfold since the US-led invasion to oust the Taliban began in 2001.
Bagdasarov, a member of the pro-Kremlin A Just Russia party faction, said drug traffickers had penetrated “all structures of Afghan society, as well as the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.”
He said the United States and NATO as a whole should be given an ultimatum: Either they destroy poppy plantations in Afghanistan “or we will raise the question of halting the transit and banning our airlines from participating in tenders for cargo transit.”
He stressed there was no more effective method of combating illicit drugs than destroying them where they grow, that is at the beginning of the drug traffic chain.
It is not clear whether his views represent Russia’s official position, but earlier on Wednesday Viktor Ivanov, head of the Federal Anti-Narcotics Committee, said drug use could only be curbed by eradicating the growing of poppies for opium production in Afghanistan and treating the waves of heroin coming from the country as a major global threat…..MORE HERE