Military

Russia, China concerned by growing Afghan drug threat

RIA Novosti

10:3127/05/2010 BEIJING, May 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's drug control chief, who is currently on a visit to Beijing, said on Thursday his Chinese colleagues shared Russia's concerns about the growing drug threat from Afghanistan.

Moscow has criticized U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan for failing to eradicate opium production and warned over the weekend that drug trafficking was endangering Russia's national security.

Viktor Ivanov said high-ranking Chinese officials, including Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu and Deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping, had also expressed "particular concern" about Afghan drug trafficking, which they say "escalates tensions" in China's troubled Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous district.

"Both the Russian and the Chinese side note the extremely low efficiency of anti-drug efforts by the international coalition forces in Afghanistan," he said.

A year ago, Russia provided the coalition forces with information on 175 drug labs in Afghanistan, but "they continue to send heroin to our countries, and none of them has been eliminated," Ivanov said.

Russia says production of heroin in Afghanistan has increased almost tenfold since the US-led invasion to oust the Taliban in 2001.

The Chinese public security minister said the amount of Afghan drugs is also on the increase in China. It rose from 4.3 metric tons of heroin last year to six metric tons in the first five months of 2010.



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