#35 - JRL 2009-222 - JRL Home
Anti-drug effort in Afghanistan insufficient - Russian Duma speaker

Moscow/St Petersburg, 2 December: State Duma Chairman Boris Gryzlov has said that the issue of drug trafficking from Afghanistan is becoming more acute, and various countries' current efforts to resolve it are insufficient.

"Drug production in Afghanistan has increased by a factor of 42 since 2001," Gryzlov said at the meeting with the chairman of the lower house of the Afghan parliament, Mohammad Yunos Qanuni, in St Petersburg on Wednesday (2 December).

According to the State Duma directorate for public relations and liaison with the mass media, the State Duma chairman drew the attention of his Afghan counterpart to the fact that "the anti-drug effort in Afghanistan, including that of US subunits, is clearly insufficient".

The State Duma chairman added that he had put forward, at the meeting of the leaders of the parliamentary G8 in Rome in September this year, the initiative to adopt a resolution at the level of the UN proclaiming that "the drug situation in Afghanistan should be regarded as a threat to peace and international security".

"This would give Afghanistan legal grounds to engage other countries for the fight against the drug threat. One should not only fight the plantations, but also where drugs are produced and laboratories operate," Gryzlov stressed.

He also expressed the view that, in addition to the creation and strengthening of Afghanistan's own armed forces, it is important to develop its economy. "When there is no work or money, it is a breeding ground for terrorism; we had that in Chechnya. New jobs have to be created," the speaker noted.

For his part, Qanuni stressed that terrorism and the drug threat were a common problem. He said that the situation in Pakistan and the explosion that derailed Nevskiy Ekspress (Moscow to St Petersburg train on 27 November) showed that terrorism concerned everyone and had to be fought together. (Passage omitted: Qanuni's condolences over Russian train blast)

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