DUSHANBE, August 17, Asia-Plus - Russia and Tajikistan have made considerable success in preventing drug trafficking both in the territory of Russia and in the territory of Tajikistan, Russian Minister of Interiors Rashid Nurgaliyev remarked at a news conference in Dushanbe on August 17 following a meeting of Russian and Tajik Interior Ministry officials.

“We have also considered ways of seeking solution of problems still existing in this direction,” the Russian minister said, hailing the current interaction between the interior ministries of the countries in combating drug trafficking.  Nurgaliyev noted that Tajikistan, which was on the "northern" route leading to Western Europe via Russia, was on the forefront of the fight against drug trafficking.

Russia''s interior minister also that opium poppy production kept growing in Afghanistan, despite measures taken by the international community to counter it.  Since the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001, the international community has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on efforts to destroy poppy crops, close drug labs, pay subsidies to impoverished farmers and encourage them to cultivate alternate crops.  "Unfortunately, despite all the measures being taken by the international community, opium production in Afghanistan has not declined, but has continued growing every year," Rashid Nurgaliyev said, noting that compared to 2005 production of opium in Afghanistan has increased by 40 percent. 

Nurgaliyev said the growing drug, terrorism and extremist menace meant that Russia and Tajikistan, along with other member nations of the CIS had to improve border controls and introduce additional measures to prevent drug smuggling. 

He also pointed to the necessity of toughening state control over migration, which still remained an acute problem facing Russia, Tajikistan and other CIS countries.  He urged combined measures to curb illegal migration, which has evolved into a global problem that hampers socioeconomic development and promotes crime.

According to the Russian minister, the law enforcement agencies of the two countries have carried out more than 20 joint operations, including so-called "checked deliveries of drugs."  “These joint operations by Russian and Tajik law enforcement agencies have led to prevention of activity of more than 40 transnational criminal groups and the seizure of some 240 kilograms of heroin,” Nurgaliyev said.  

Rashid Nurgaliyev also said the joint board meeting of the interior ministries of the two countries had resulted in signing an agreement entitled “On Interaction between Interior Ministries of Tajikistan and Russia in Investigating and Solving Crimes Committed by Criminal Groups with International Ties” and setting draft plan of work of the two ministries for 2008.