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Moscow considers British data about progress of anti-drug efforts in Afghanistan "excessively optimistic" - 14 September, 2002

Moscow believes that British data about 8-billion-dollar-worth shipments of drugs, which have been arrested and destroyed by British commandos in Afghanistan over the past nine months, is "excessively optimistic." This information was disclosed by high-ranking Russian diplomat Gleb Ivashentsov. As has been previously reported, Great Britain has taken an obligation to spearhead the struggle against drug trafficking in Afghanistan.

The Russian diplomat stressed that the drug flow from Afghanistan had not decreased. In 2002, 600kg of drugs have been confiscated on the Tajik-Afghan border section only. UN experts estimate that this year Afghanistan will produce about 3,000 tons of heroin.

Moscow believes that a long-term programme should be developed in order to fight drugs trafficking more effectively. This programme shall include both military and economic means, the Russian diplomat stated. He thinks that since it is Russian troops who guard the Tajik-Afghan border, Moscow shall get financial aid from the UN and other international organisations in order to establish a security zone along both the Tajik-Afghan and Russo-Kazakh border.

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