US has no anti-drug strategy after Afghanistan troop withdrawal - official
MOSCOW, 5 March (RAPSI) – The Untied States has no strategy to fight drugs after the planned troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov, said on Wednesday.
The combat stage of the US-led international operation in Afghanistan will end this year, and the Obama administration told Afghanistan on Tuesday that it had started planning for the possible withdrawal of all US troops by the end of the year.
Previously, the plan was that several thousand US military personnel would stay behind to train the Afghan army and police in the protection of security.
“According to the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Washington has no counternarcotics strategy for Afghanistan after international troops pull out of the country,” Ivanov said at a meeting of the State Anti-Drug Committee. Afghanistan now has one of the highest opiate usage rates in the world.
Russia, which is the main conduit of drugs originating in Afghanistan, has the world’s largest number of heroin addicts per capita. Over 90% of drug addicts in Russia use heroin. The Russian heroin market is valued at $6 billion by various sources, and its hashish market is estimated at $1.5 billion. According to official statistics, between 30,000 and 40,000 Russians die every year from drug-related illnesses.
In 2013, Ivanov said that about 8 million Russians used drugs and almost 150,000 people were jailed for drug-related crimes. The UN says that Russia, a nation of 142 million people, accounts for about 20% of the world's heroin consumption.