"Security belts" around Afghanistan, a panacea against border drug trafficking

Russia comes out for creating anti-drug "security belts" around Afghanistan, says a report issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Permanent envoy of Russia at the United Nations Sergei Lavrov told a session of the UN Security Council on Afghanistan that the creation of anti-drug "security belts:" the first one - along the perimeter of the Afghan borders, and the second one - at the borders of its neighbours - "would help considerably raise the efficiency of the efforts to stop the flows of Afghan opium to the basic markets." According to him, Russia is actively co-operating in this sphere with United Nations structures and the countries in the region. The greater part of Russia's annual voluntary payment to the Fund of the UNDCP (United Nations Drug Control Programme) is used just for this purpose. Thanks to the implementation in 2000-2001 of a project of assistance to the group of the Russian Federal Frontier Service in Tajikistan, the efficiency of the fight against smuggling at the Tajik-Afghan border increased by nearly ten times, said Sergei Lavrov. Last year, more than four tons of drugs, including over 2.3 tons of heroin, were confiscated at the Tajik-Afghan border. Since the beginning of this year, about two tons of drugs, including 1.2 tons of heroine, have already been detained.

According to the existing information, up to fifty and more percent of Afghan drugs pass through the territory of Russia. Last year, some 3,500 tons of raw opium were harvested in Afghanistan. This amount corresponds to 350 tons in heroin equivalent. This year, according to experts' estimates, the country may reap in from 4,500 to 6,000 tons of raw opium.

The open session of the UN Security Council on Afghanistan took place in New York under the chairmanship of Russia.

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