Home > Regions > Asia > Afghanistan > Russia, the U.S. and drugs in Afghanistan

Author

Ross Eventon

Ross Eventon was previously the Samuel Rubin Young Fellow at the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam where his research focused on the war in Afghanistan. He holds an MA in international relations and a BSc in economics. He is currently a writer and researcher based in Latin America.
More

Related publications

a A share Email print

Russia, the U.S. and drugs in Afghanistan

Ross Eventon, 30 November 2011

The U.S.-Russian relationship throughout Central Asia is one of intense rivalry, albeit with occasional politically opportune collaboration. As the two powers pursue their own political and military objectives, the relationship can often appear contradictory and confused, as co-operation exists simultaneously alongside competition, involving vocal condemnation and criticism. This rivalry is especially evident in Afghanistan, and particularly in relation to the enormous levels of opium cultivation in that country since the invasion. 

For both the U.S. and Russia, exploitation of the drugs issue has been an important means of achieving their respective aims. Washington’s proclaimed “war on drugs” is quite transparently an aspect of counter-insurgency and shows little regard for the actual level of drug production. In light of domestic policies, Moscow’s claims of concern with Afghan opium flowing into the country are clearly disingenuous. The “drugs threat” instead serves as a mechanism for increasing Russia’s engagement with Afghanistan and the Central Asian states. 

As the U.S. seeks to establish a permanent presence, secure the authority of a client state in Afghanistan, and exert control over the future of the region, Moscow is using bilateral and regional mechanisms in an effort to counter Washington and become an influential player in Central Asia. Recent developments suggest that this “New Great Game” is approaching a crucial moment, with significant geo-strategic implications. 

Featured

Stay informed

Subscribe to notifications from NOREF.

Follow NOREF

Recommended

 
Not the end of the Arab Spring, is it?
openDemocracy
Not the end of the Arab Spring, is it?
openDemocracy
 
BBC
BBC
Anger mounts as Gaza toll rises
Anger mounts as Gaza toll rises
'Dozens of bodies' at Libya base
'Dozens of bodies' at Libya base
France evacuates expats from Libya
France evacuates expats from Libya
 
Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
US supplies Israel with bombs amid Gaza blitz
US supplies Israel with bombs amid Gaza blitz
Israeli fire kills refugees in Gaza UN school
Israeli fire kills refugees in Gaza UN school
Argentina set for turmoil as debt talks fail
Argentina set for turmoil as debt talks fail
 
ISN
ISN
Africa: the EU-US Security-Economy Nexus
Africa: the EU-US Security-Economy Nexus
Ten Years After: Lessons From the EUPM in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2002-2012
Ten Years After: Lessons From the EUPM in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2002-2012
Central European Journal of International and Security Studies Vol 8, Issue 1
Central European Journal of International and Security Studies Vol 8, Issue 1