Russia is ready to maintain counterterrorism contacts with the United States, including in the context of Afghanistan, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for New Challenges and Threats chief, Vladimir Tarabrin, said.
“As for counterterrorism contacts with the Americans, including in the context of the Afghan affairs, we are ready for such interaction, but we cannot be more interested in it than our partners are,” Tarabrin said.
From 2018-2019, Moscow and Washington maintained a full-fledged cross-agency dialogue on the entire spectrum of counterterrorism issues, but this cooperation was suspended under a contrived pretext at the US initiative, the diplomat recalled.
Nevertheless, Moscow continues pragmatic cooperation with the US Department of States’ Bureau of Counterterrorism where this meets Russia’s practical interests, Tarabrin added.
“We are ready to continue counterterrorism cooperation, including the exchange of views on Afghanistan, both bilaterally and within multilateral formats if there is mutual interest,” Tarabrin concluded.
The US forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan shows that Washington’s initiatives to combat drugs in fact failed, Vladimir Tarabrin said.
“Leaving Afghanistan, the Americans state that their anti-drug initiatives in fact failed,” Tarabrin said.
Afghanistan accounts for around 84% of the global opiate production, according to the Russian diplomat. In addition, in recent years, the country became a “major methamphetamine laboratory,” the official noted.
“It is noteworthy that peak indicators in the Afghan drug industry coincided with the presence of the Americans and their NATO allies on the territory of the country,” Tarabrin said.
According to different estimates, the volume of illegal opiate production surged from 17 to 40 times compared to 2001 when the US troops entered Afghanistan, the Russian diplomat recalled.
“A stable drug market is formed in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, a smoothly running drug business is operating regardless of presence of foreign troops,” Tarabrin concluded.
The United States and NATO began pulling their ground forces out of Afghanistan on 1 May. The withdrawal resulted in a flare-up of tensions between the government forces and the Talibanز