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Russian-U.S. recent operations against Afghan drug labs successful - official

Map of Afghanistan and Neighboring Areas With Ethnic and Linguistic RegionsMOSCOW. April 7 (Interfax) - Russia and the United States have successfully carried out a series of joint operations in recent months aimed at destroying drug laboratories in Afghanistan, the director of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov, said.

"Four successful operations have been conducted in Afghanistan," Ivanov said at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday.

A total of 344 kilograms of heroin and 25 kilograms of opium were destroyed in the Afghan village of Nargosa during the first stage, Fury-1, of a Russian-U.S. operation carried out on December 17, 2010, he said.

The operation's second phase, Fury-2, took place on December 18, when 300 kilograms of heroin and 160 kilograms of opium were destroyed, Ivanov said.

One more operation, entitled Regulator, helped Russian and U.S. officers dispose of 700 kilograms of heroin and 100 kilograms of opium on February 17, 2011.

The last such operation, entitled Esoteric Stone, resulted in the destruction of 4,450 kilograms of morphine, 55 kilograms of heroin, 12 kilograms of opium, drug making equipment and weapons in Afghanistan's village of Tangi on February 22.

"Russia and the U.S. worked together in cooperation with our colleagues in Tajikistan and Afghanistan," Ivanov said.

More than 1,400 kilograms of highly concentrated heroin, 300 kilograms of opium, 4.5 tonnes of morphine, precursors and heroin-making equipment were disposed of as a result of the four operations, he said.

Weapons and satellite phones were confiscated.

The seized drugs were intended for Russia, Ivanov said.

However, a spokesman for the Federal Drug Control Service told Interfax on Thursday that Russian counter-drug units only provided information to the U.S., but were not immediately involved in the operations on Afghan territory.

"Wholesale (drug) distributors were in Russia. It allowed us to follow this chain to the end, to track down the organizers and to establish the location of these laboratories. Subsequently, all of them were destroyed by Afghanistan's police forces," Ivanov said.

Russia, the U.S., Tajikistan and Afghanistan will conduct similar operations regularly in the future, he said.

"This allows us to consolidate operative information and to act together," he said.

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