Russian frustration is rising with NATO’s “incomprehensible passivity” in efforts to contain Afghanistan’s growing drugs output. It has reached a point where some politicians in Moscow are starting to call for an active Russian military presence in Central Asia.
The Kremlin flashed its dissatisfaction with anti-trafficking efforts in Afghanistan on September 29, when Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, lambasted the inability of US and NATO forces to curb trafficking in northern Afghanistan. He also intimated that the growing presence of Islamic militants in northern Afghanistan may be linked to the recent clashes in Tajikistan’s Rasht Valley.
“Drug crime fused with terrorism has become a threat to peace and stability,” Churkin said in a speech delivered to the UN Security Council.
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.