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

 
Are the Sykes-Picot Borders Being Redrawn?
Carnegie Middle East Center
Are the Sykes-Picot Borders Being Redrawn?
Carnegie Middle East Center
 
BBC
BBC
Dozens killed in Iraq mosque attack
Dozens killed in Iraq mosque attack
Israel vows response to boy's death
Israel vows response to boy's death
Tour buses collide near Egypt resort
Tour buses collide near Egypt resort
 
Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
Scores dead in attack on Sunni mosque in Iraq
Scores dead in attack on Sunni mosque in Iraq
Hamas executes 18 suspected informers
Hamas executes 18 suspected informers
Russia aid convoy moving into Ukraine
Russia aid convoy moving into Ukraine
 
ISN
ISN
Understanding the Persistance of American Alliances and Partnerships in the Asia-Pacific
Understanding the Persistance of American Alliances and Partnerships in the Asia-Pacific
Lebanon and the Brink of Disaster
Lebanon and the Brink of Disaster
Changing the Game: Human Security as Grand Strategy
Changing the Game: Human Security as Grand Strategy