Russia's Medvedev talks terrorism, drug trade with Afghanistan, Pakistan leaders
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hosted leaders from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday. Militancy and the drug trade are increasing threats to Russia's security.
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In an effort to strengthen relations with Central Asia, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev hosted the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan on Wednesday in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi. Though much of the meeting focused on flooding in Pakistan, security issues in Afghanistan and Pakistan were at the core of the talks.
Instability in former Soviet Central Asia is seen as a threat to Russia's security, and Russia has expressed concern about the spread of militancy from the two countries. Russia would also like to curb Afghanistan's production of illegal drugs, much of which passes through Russia and is fueling an addiction to cheap Afghan heroin.
This is the second meeting between the leaders of all four countries in a year.
“Russia firmly supports all efforts on the part of Afghanistan to restore peace in the country. We also support the Afghan government’s fight against terror and are ready to provide any help needed to tackle the problem,” said Mr. Medvedev in an article by RT, a Russian news service.
Russia has promised development assistance to Afghanistan, reports the Press Trust of India. However, Medvedev went on to say that the drug trade is linked to terrorism and poses an unacceptable threat to Russia’s safety. He said the trade must be combated on all levels, including destroying illicit crops and launching military strikes.
Moscow's drug czar, Viktor Ivanov, has in the past claimed that Russia is being flooded with cheap heroin, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Mr. Ivanov has charged that the US and its NATO allies in Afghanistan are reluctant to pursue a drug war that could drive poppy farmers into the arms of the Taliban.