Mon, Nov 01, 2010 - Page 5 News List

Karzai reaction to raid is ‘incomprehensible’: Russia

AFP, HANOI

Kabul has reacted in an “incomprehensible” manner to the first US-Russian anti-drugs operation in Afghanistan, a senior source in the delegation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said yesterday.

“The reaction is simply surprising and incomprehensible,” the source said.

He was responding after Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted with fury to the first joint US-Russian anti-drugs operation in his country, saying it happened without permission and violated Afghan sovereignty.

‘VIOLATED SOVEREIGNTY’

The operation took place late on Thursday in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

“The reaction is completely surprising because the Afghan Interior Ministry participated in this operation,” the source said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Medvedev is on an official visit to Vietnam.

“No organization or institution has the right to carry out such military operations inside the territory of our country -without permission and agreement from the Islamic government of -Afghanistan,” a statement released by Karzai’s -office said earlier.

It condemned the action and said “such unilateral operations are a clear violation of Afghan sovereignty as well as international law, and any repetition will be met by the required reaction from our side.”

The representative in Kabul of the Russian anti-drugs service, Alexey Milovanov said it was an Afghan operation.

“It was an operation conducted by the Afghan Ministry of the Interior, not by us,” Milovanov said.

“We have simply acted as advisers, according to an agreement between our two countries permitting the presence of Russian advisers during a drug raid,” he said.

He said that four Russian anti-drug officials were present at the operation.

FLOW OF DRUGS

Russia frequently criticizes what it describes as the inadequate anti-drug policies of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, which it says lead to an increased flow of drugs into Russia through Central Asia.

NATO is trying to encourage greater Russian engagement in Afghanistan, more than 20 years after the former Soviet Union withdrew forces after a decade-long war against mujahidin insurgents.

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