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NATO must combat Afghan drug industry - Russian drugs control chief

MOSCOW. May 19 (Interfax) - The West is to blame for the expanding Afghan drug trafficking business, said Russia's Federal Drug Control Service head Viktor Ivanov.

"Nearly eight years have passed since the start of the United States and coalition's operation in Afghanistan, but the situation has not improved in that country, including the drugs situation. It has worsened," Ivanov told a conference of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which discussed ways to deal with the Afghan drug threat in Moscow on Tuesday.

An increase in the Western military contingent in Afghanistan "is only making the situation worse in that country," he said.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization members [Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan] must work to push the NATO troops, deployed in Afghanistan, towards destroying the drug plantations, he also said.

Since the international community has entrusted NATO forces to keep the situation in that country under control, a political-legal mechanism should be developed for their operations to combat drugs in Afghanistan," Ivanov said.

The situation can only be stabilized in Afghanistan if the problem of drug-related crime, connected with terrorism, is resolved, said Ivanov.