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Russia and US collaborate in Afghanistan drug raid

Posted by The Agonist on October 29th, 2010

From our partners at The Agonist

Oct 29

BBC

Russian and US agents have taken part in a joint operation to destroy drug laboratories in Afghanistan, the head of Russia’s drug control agency says.

More than a tonne of heroin and opium was seized during the raids, which took place on Thursday close to the border with Pakistan, Viktor Ivanov announced.

Mr Ivanov said the haul had a street value of $250m (£157m) and was believed to have been destined for Central Asia.

Russian officials have in the past accused coalition forces in Afghanistan of doing “next to nothing” to tackle drug production, and thereby helping to sustain the estimated 2.5 million heroin addicts in Russia alone.

Much of the heroin enters the territory of the former Soviet Union through Afghanistan’s northern borders with Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

It then travels westwards across Kazakhstan, before entering the central and Ural regions of Russia, where there are large numbers of addicts.

Mr Ivanov said the operation involved about 70 personnel from both countries – including four Russian counter-narcotics agents – backed up by attack helicopters.

Afghanistan produces 90% of the world’s opium, the main ingredient in heroin
They were on the ground for several hours, destroying a “major hub” for the production of heroin, located in a mountainous area about 5km (three miles) from the Pakistani border near the eastern city of Jalalabad, he said.

Along with 932kg (2,055lb) of high-grade heroin and 156kg (345lb) of morphine, a large amount of technical equipment was destroyed.

Mr Ivanov said the raids were based on intelligence Russia had shared with the US, and that he wanted to increase co-operation in the fight against drug trafficking.

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