Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

Bolstering Cooperation - Key to Curbing Afghan Drugs

Russia has once again pointed its finger towards NATO's role in fighting the Afghan drugs. This is not the first time. In the past too, we have heard such complaints from Russian side. The recent objection comes from the Russian Foreign Minister - Sergei Lavrov. Referring to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which unites Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - the transit countries for illicit drugs trafficking from Afghanistan into Europe, Lavrov said, "We want NATO and the CSTO to cooperate in the fight against drug trafficking, given that NATO is operating inside Afghanistan and the CSTO has troops all along the Afghan borders.

" Cooperation is indeed the key to bringing the drug trafficking from Afghanistan under thumb. The Afghan government supported by NATO and governments of its neighbors and near neighbors – Iran, Pakistan and central Asian states – need to bolster cooperation. The NATO should respond whether the objection from Russia is level-headed or not.

Russian protest over Afghan drugs has not been limited to words only. Last year in a combined operation, the US and Russian forces destroyed some opium laboratories in Afghanistan. But Russian involvement was accompanied by serious criticism from Afghan government.

Since then, Russia's participation in countering Afghan opium has not been observed although NATO chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen had said, "These activities will continue. Actually, we do have a far reaching co-operation with Russia when it comes to counter narcotics and these operations take place within the mandate provided by the United Nations.

" Also, previously the Russian government had given green signals to cooperate with NATO on Afghan war including in counter-narcotics efforts. Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and left after ten years as a result of extensive resistance by Afghan people.

In the post-Taliban Afghanistan Russian is not having any sort of military presence in Afghanistan. However, it has been actively contributing to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Like the role Russia playing in rebuilding of Afghanistan, it should contribute to fighting drugs in Afghanistan.

Again, there is need of cooperation between NATO and Russia, Russia's central Asian neighbors and neighbors of Afghanistan to curb drug trafficking from Afghanistan.