Afghanistan neighbors demand action on narcotics: envoy

5th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Afghanistan's neighbors on Thursday demanded greater action to clamp down on its narcotics trade with Russia, calling for UN sanctions against traffickers.

Russia's UN ambassador also criticised what he called the "ineffective" tactics used by international forces in Afghanistan that was forcing militants further north and into other countries.

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called at the UN General Assembly for a renewed campaign against narcotics after a Russian-US operation against drug-processing laboratories last week in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, near the border with Pakistan.

It was the first known joint US-Russian counter-narcotics operation in the country but the action infuriated Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai.

Speaking for Russia and six other former Soviet republics, Churkin said: "It is important to fight this evil throughout the entire chain of production and trafficking."

He said Afghanistan and the US-led international force had to take tougher action against what has become a major source of funding for militant groups. The UN Security Council should put traffickers on UN sanctions lists, Churkin added.

While opium production has seen a major fall in Afghanistan, the value of the drug has soared in the past year.

Churkin said four of the seven states in the Collective Security Treaty Organization have borders with Afghanistan and were worried about "growing instability" in Afghanistan's northern provinces.

"We call for putting an end to the ineffective tactics of squeezing militants from the combat zones, which enables them to maintain their combat power and relocate to other parts of the country, including northbound."

He said campaign against the Taliban and other militant groups should be focused on the "elimination of terrorists and extremists."

The security treaty group is made up of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Churkin spoke as part of a General Assembly debate on Afghanistan ahead of the adoption of a German sponsored resolution renewing the international community's commitment to Afghanistan's transition to full responsibility for security.

A resolution also expressed support for the government-led peace and reconciliation process.

© 2010 AFP

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