Karzai spurns joint U.S.-Russia anti-drugs raid, orders probe

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October 30, 2010 15:55

Afghan President Hamid Karzai addressing a press conference in presidential palace in Kabul. Photo - Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

Who: Afghan president.

What: President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai has blasted the joint counter-narcotics conducted by American and Russian forces earlier this week, calling it a violation of sovereignty. He also demanded a NATO explanation, adding: “Such uncoordinated operations clearly violate sovereignty. Afghanistan will respond seriously to any repetition of such actions.”

Where: The Afghan leader issued his statement in Kabul in response to the raids that took place in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan.

When: Karzai ordered an investigation into the raids, demanding information made available by no later than Saturday night. Russian and US forces raided heroin and opium labs on Thursday, 28 October.

Why: Russian involvement in Afghanistan is still a sensitive issue since the end of the Soviet occupation of the country in 1989. U.S. embassy in Kabul had earlier announced that Afghan Ministry of Interior counter-narcotics police led the raids with DEA, NATO and Russian personnel playing a supporting role. Analysts find it baffling how Afghan officials can take part in an international counter-narcotics operation in Afghanistan without the central government knowledge or consent.

How: President Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, has been routinely accused of being a drugs dealer and having links with notorious drug barons. Hamid Karzai vehemently denies such allegations. According to Times Online report, it is a common perception in Afghanistan that Karzai government is riddled with corruption and protects the leading figures in the country’s drugs trade, which the United Nations valued at $4 billion in 2007.

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