Russian drugs agency baffled by Kabul fury at raid: report

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Kabul's angry reaction to the first joint US-Russia drugs raid in Afghanistan was "not very understandable," a source in Russia's federal anti-narcotics agency told state news agencies Sunday.

"The Afghan authorities were informed of the operation, units from the country took part in the operation and therefore it is not very understandable why there has been such a reaction," the source told the ITAR-TASS news agency.

The source in the Federal Service for the Control of Narcotics spoke after Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted furiously to the first joint US-Russian drugs raid, calling it unsanctioned and a violation of Afghan sovereignty.

The raid on drug labs producing heroin and morphine took place late Thursday in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

Earlier Sunday, a senior source in the delegation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who was on an official visit to Vietnam, called Karzai's reaction "incomprehensible."

A statement from Karzai's office said earlier: "No organisation or institution has the right to carry out such military operations inside the territory of our country without permission and agreement from the Islamic government of Afghanistan."

It condemned the action and said "such unilateral operations are a clear violation of Afghan sovereignty as well as international law, and any repetition will be met by the required reaction from our side."

The representative in Kabul of the Russian anti-drugs service, Alexey Milovanov, told AFP on Saturday that the operation was conducted by the Afghan ministry of interior.

Russians "simply acted as advisers, according to an agreement between our two countries permitting the presence of Russian advisers during a drug raid," he said.

Russia frequently criticises what it describes as the inadequate anti-drug policies of United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan, which it says lead to an increased flow of drugs into Russia through Central Asia.

Afghanistan produces about 90 percent of the world's opium.

© 2010 AFP

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