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Shanghai Cooperation Organization Preparing To Counter Afghan Drug Threat

April 21, 2015 (EIRNS)—During his meeting with drug-control officials from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states, Russia’s director of the Federal Service for Narcotics Control, Viktor Ivanov, discussed international cooperation in the war on illegal drugs and suggested using member-nations’ resources to counter the threat of drugs from Afghanistan. Pointing out the failure of the U.S. and NATO to tackle the Afghan opium issue during their long war, he said they tried "to escape responsibility for resolving the problem of large-scale drug production in Afghanistan." He suggested to the attending SCO officials that they urge the SCO heads of state "to approve Afghanistan as a full-fledged member, considering the importance of its closer integration in SCO economic processes, aimed at alternative development and elimination of drug production." Russia, China, and four Central Asian nations—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—formed the SCO in 2001 as a regional security bloc.

Ivanov and Indian Ambassador to Moscow P.S. Raghavan had discussed the the Afghan drug issue in a bilateral meeting on April 16, and had agreed to join hands to eliminate the drug threat from Afghanistan. They acknowledged the importance of cooperation between relevant Russian and Indian agencies for taking countermeasures against drugs.

The importance of dealing with the threat that the Afghan opium poses on Afghanistan’s and Iran’s economies has also been addressed by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in his ongoing visit to Iran. During his meeting today with economists and businessmen from both countries organized by the chambers of commerce and industry of Iran, President Ghani denounced narcotics as a source of the black economy which is threatening both Afghanistan and Iran.