Russia says U.S. should eradicate Afghan opium

Russia accused the United States of conniving with Afghanistan's drug producers by refusing to destroy opium crops.

Russia says U.S. should eradicate Afghan opium

Russia accused the United States on Sunday of conniving with Afghanistan's drug producers by refusing to destroy opium crops, the second time in a week Moscow has taken a swipe at the West over drug policy.

U.S. Marines have advanced into one of the main opium-growing regions of Afghanistan's Helmand Province since February, but have told villagers there they will not destroy the opium crop that is blossoming this month.

"We believe such statements are contrary to the decisions taken on Afghan narco-problems within the U.N. and other international forums," said a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry released by the embassy in Kabul.

"The touching' concern about the Afghan farmers actually means, if not directly, then certainly indirectly, conniving (with) drug producers," it said.

Last week, Russian U.N. ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the Security Council that U.S. and NATO commanders should continue to eradicate opium poppy fields.

Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world's opium, a thick paste extracted from poppies and processed to make highly addictive heroin and then smuggled abroad.

The Russian statement said the stance taken by the United States and NATO "ignores the fact that thousands of people die from heroin ... including in Afghanistan". If NATO troops would not carry out eradication themselves, they should provide force protection for Afghans to do it, it said.

Poppy eradication has largely been seen as a failure by the international community. According to the United Nations, less than 4 percent of poppy planted in Afghanistan over the last two years was eradicated, and at a great human and economic cost.


Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Mart 2010, 17:39

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