Russia has offered to send narcotics police to Afghanistan even as the U.S. agreed to step up the fight against drug production and trafficking in that country.

Head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service Victor Ivanov said he had made the offer to Director for the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske.

The Russian and U.S. anti-narcotics chiefs met in Moscow on Thursday in the framework of Russian-American drug control group set up last year as part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s policy of “reset” in relations with Russia.

“We have discussed the participation of [Russian] Drug Control officers in the joint work in the coalition coordination centres in Afghanistan,” said Mr. Ivanov.

Russia has so far categorically refused to send any military personnel to Afghanistan.

Ineffective measures

Mr. Ivanov rapped the U.S. for what he called was “ineffective measures” to control heroin production in Afghanistan even as his U.S. counterpart said the area under drug crops had shrunk by three per cent thanks to coalition efforts. “It is necessary to destroy at least 25 to 30 per cent of crops to make the narco-business unprofitable,” he insisted.

U.S. special envoy for AfPak Richard Holbrooke said on Wednesday that the U.S. “had an honest disagreement” with Russia as the Pentagon refused to destroy poppies and shifted the emphasis to controlling drug trafficking.

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