Karzai criticises US-Russia raid


Afghan president Hamid Karzai demanded last night that Nato forces explain why they had carried out a joint counter-narcotics operation with Russian forces inside Afghanistan, calling it a violation of sovereignty.

Moscow said on Friday Russian and US agents, supported by helicopters and Afghan police, destroyed four drug laboratories and nearly one tonne of heroin in a raid this week seen as a measure to improve strained ties between Washington and Moscow.

"No institution is allowed to carry out such an operation in Afghan territory without the government's prior consent," Mr Karzai's office said in a statement.

"Such uncoordinated operations clearly violate sovereignty. Afghanistan will respond seriously to any repetition of such actions," it said.

The counter-narcotics raid, which was also announced by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, came as the US and Nato call for Russia to play a more supportive role in their war against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior counter-narcotics police led the operation with DEA, NATO and Russian personnel playing a supporting role, the US embassy said in a statement, referring requests for details to the Afghan government.

It was unclear how Afghan officials would have taken part in an international counter-narcotics operation in Afghanistan without the central government knowledge or consent.

The drug raid came as Nato's secretary general plans to hold talks next month in Moscow on expanding supply routes to its troops in Afghanistan via Russia and call for more Russian helicopters and pilot training for Afghan forces.