Karzai, Drugs and Russia

Shinwar District lies on the main road between...

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No one admits that his buttermilk is sour. Likewise, Karzai has chosen to maintain silence over the drug trafficking in his country. Karzai seems to be at peace with the ongoing corruption that he has turned a deaf ear to the cries of U.S and allies regarding the extreme level of corruption in Afghanistan under his leadership.

Russian forces had been defeated by U.S backed Afghan forces in 1989. But to fight the drug war, Russia has joined forces with U.S.A and Afghan anti-narcotics agents in eradicating drug laboratories based in Afghanistan. Four opium refining laboratories and 1,000 kilograms worth $250 million high-quality heroin and opium was destroyed in Zerasari village of Achin district, in Nangarhar province near the Pakistani border.

Initially, Afghan President Hamid Karzai‘s office issued a harshly worded statement claiming that the drug raid was unsanctioned and unauthorized by the Afghan government. Describing his government as “committed to joint efforts with [the] international community against narcotics”, the statement condemned the the raid as a “blatant violation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty.”

But Karzai has decided to eradicate terrorism with the help of U.S.A, Russia and its allies.

Earlier, Russia accused the Afghan government for not taking any action against the ongoing drug networking which had been affecting Russians of whom around 30,000 had died of heroin addiction. Russia found it quite incomprehensible when Karzai lashed out despite the Afghan Interior Ministry’s Counter-Narcotics Police Sensitive Investigative Unit and the National Interdiction Unit’s participation in the raid. It also stressed on the Karzai Government’s agreement with the alliance, that they would take control of the narcotics trafficking, middlemen and human trafficking, whose profits funded insurgent groups in Afghanistan to buy guns, bombs and weapons of mass destruction. Narcotics is trafficked from Afghanistan via Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

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Ties between Russia and Afghanistan have been improving after 21 years of strained relationship owing to Soviet Union’s invasion in 1979. Afghanistan has faced civil wars since the late1970s. Afghanistan faced foreign invasion from Soviet Union in 1979 when Afghanistan sought help from Soviet troops to provide security and to assist in the fight against the mujahideen rebels. Though still many Afghans consider Russians as enemies. Russia plans to improve relations with Afghanistan and assist international forces in pursuing the anti-drug war.

In 2007 alone Afghanistan had grown nine thousand tons of opium. Also Afghanistan has become a dangerous narcotics trafficking zone. Many European countries are looking forward to help Afghanistan resolve the trafficking issue because with the increase in opium production in Afghanistan, it is increasingly leading to death and destructive behaviour among the youth across Europe. The NATO allies have been strategizing to rebuild and bring stability in Afghanistan to halt the money that comes from the illegal marketing of drugs.

Russian General Craddock said profit from the narcotics trade “buys the bomb makers and the bombs, the bullets and the trigger-pullers that are killing our soldiers and marines and airmen, and we have to stop them.”

According to Transparency International, Afghanistan is 179th in the corruption index out of 180 in the world. Every government service is available for a bribe. There is no genuine institution to hold the government accountable.

According to the UN World Drug Report 2010, Afghanistan has produced 90 per cent of the world’s illicit opium in recent years. A lot of that has come from the province in which Australian troops are stationed.

There have been reports that Karzai’s family is one of the biggest drug dealers in Afghanistan, though Karzai’s family has denied any kind of involvement in it.

Afghanistan is still mired in controversies and allegations of corruption but it seems Russia, through its first ever joint mission with U.S.A, is trying to provide salvation and make peace with the war-wrecked country in its efforts to build bridges, and wanting to fill up the vacuum that is in the making after U.S.A’s decision of withdrawing its troops from the land-locked nation.

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