KABUL (AFP/Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted with fury Sunday to the first joint US-Russian anti-drugs operation in the war-torn country, saying it happened without permission and violated Afghan sovereignty.
The Afghan President demanded that NATO forces explain why they had carried out the joint operation with Russian forces inside Afghanistan.
Moscow said on Friday Russian and US agents, supported by helicopters and Afghan police, destroyed four drug laboratories and nearly one ton 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 governments prior consent, Karzais office said in a statement.
Afghanistan condemns this act by NATO and announces that such unilateral operations are a clear violation of Afghan sovereignty as well as international law, and Afghanistan will respond seriously to any repetition of such actions, it said.
The statement said Karzai had ordered the ministries of defence and interior to investigate the operation, which took place late Thursday in the eastern province of Nangarhar, and to report back to him by Saturday night.
A Russian official however said Karzai was misinformed in saying the operation went ahead without permission from Afghan authorities.
The representative in Kabul of the Russian anti-drugs service, Alexey Milovanov, told AFP it was an Afghan operation.
It was an operation conducted by the Afghan ministry of interior, not by us, said Milovanov.
We have simply acted as advisers, according to an agreement between our two countries permitting the presence of Russian advisers during a drug raid.
He said that four Russian anti-drug officials were present at the operation.
The counter-narcotics raid, which was also announced by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, came as US and NATO are calling 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.