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narcotics

The latest Afghan news round-up compiled by Elayne Jude for Great North News Service includes Pashtunwali's rules, Afghanistan's Sikhs, the Taliban's drug wars and the memoirs of a carpet weaver

Air Support: Essential Lifeline

Gary Anderson is a retired Marine Corps officer and a civilian adviser in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is an adjunct professor at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. He argues from firsthand experience that without 'some combination of easy-to-maintain transport helicopters and relatively inexpensive fixed-wing or helicopter armed-escort aircraft...the U.S. will have wasted 12 years of blood and treasure'. Put simply, abandoning Afghan ground forces without proper air support would be both militarily unsound and morally unconscionable' (WSJ, 2 June 2013)

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Afghan News Round Up for May 2013 Compiled by Elayne Jude for Great North News Service.

Also dues unpaid, woman journalist recognised and raising journalism standards, social attitudes 

The spectre of Russia sending troops to Afghanistan after the coalition withdrawal was raised by media reports citing Russian Defence Ministry representative Sergei Koshelev saying Russian repair bases may be established in Afghanistan. The Defence and Foreign Ministries subsequently denied the reports.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich: "Moscow's position, that a return of the Russian military to Afghanistan is impossible, remains unchanged."

Moscow and Kabul have a military and technical co-operation agreement, under which Russian specialists repair Afghanistan's Russian-made military equipment. The pull-out in 2014 means that Moscow must re-evaluate the threats that will emerge on the borders of CIS countries.

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By Patrick Nopens

A perfect storm

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, "a perfect storm of drugs, crime and insurgency that has swirled around the Afghanistan/Pakistan border for years, is heading for Central Asia".

Afghanistan is the major producer of the world's opiates and cannabis. From there the drugs are trafficked chiefly to Europe, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and China. Drug trafficking and consumption are linked to other crime, turning Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan into narco-states. Furthermore, money generated by the drugs trade is being channelled to insurgent movements, not only in Afghanistan but also in Central Asia.
If the international community does not act swiftly and in unison, this will not only impact drug related crime and consumption worldwide but also jeopardise the vast energy reserves in Central Asia and risk further destabilising the Caucasus.

Counter-narcotics in Afghanistan are an area where NATO's and Russia's interests clearly coincide. If NATO and Russia cannot find a way of effectively cooperating in this matter, not only will the Afghan narcotic problem spiral completely out of control, but NATO-Russia cooperation could come under pressure.

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