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24 January 2012 - 14:08

Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar says the presence of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan has fueled insecurity in the region.

“The escalation of insecurity in the region and the rise in drug trafficking from Afghanistan are among the irreparable consequences of the US and NATO military presence in Afghanistan,” Najjar said at his Monday meeting with Russia's Minister for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Disaster Management Sergei Shoigu Kuzhugetovich, in the Russian capital city of Moscow.

The US-led invasion of Afghanistan began in 2001 under the pretext of 'fighting terror,' toppling the Taliban, and establishing security in the country.

However, insecurity across Afghanistan continues to mount despite the presence of tens of thousands of foreign troops in the country.

Meanwhile, a recent report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that Afghanistan's overall opium production increased by 61 percent, from 3,600 metric tons in 2010 to 5,800 in 2011.

The Iranian interior minister further pointed out that Iran and Russia are located along the corridors of Afghan drug trafficking to Europe through the Balkans and Central Asia, and both countries have incurred enormous human and financial costs every year in their campaigns to tackle the issue.

Najjar is on a visit to Moscow to discuss bilateral security cooperation with Russian officials. During the visit, the two sides announced plans to sign memoranda of understanding on disaster management and security issues.

Iran has spent more than USD700 million to seal its long borders with Afghanistan and prevent the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab and Central Asian countries.

The war on drug trade originating from Afghanistan has also claimed the lives of nearly 3,700 Iranian police officers over the past 30 years.
press tv/281
 

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