Coup in Kyrgyzstan, Drugs from Afghanistan, and the US By Anatoly ALIFEROV

19 April, 2010 — Strategic Culture Foundation

While the Kyrgyz interim government was searching for the bank accounts of ousted President K. Bakiev, and Belorussian President A. Lukashenko invited him to settle down in Belarus, Moscow bloggers published a sensational finding: they unearthed evidence that the coup in Kyrgyzstan was backed by the US and that the whole intrigue revolves around the transit of drugs from Afghanistan.

On April 18, Oriental Review, an English-language blog based in Russia, published a text titled «Kyrgyzstan Destined To Become Another Narco-State?». It points to the facts that drug crops in Afghanistan surged since the dispatch of the US and NATO forces to the country and that the neighboring Kyrgyzstan became the key transit hub on the route – known as the Great Heroin Way – via which drugs from Afghanistan are delivered to Europe and Asia.

The author of the text wrote: ‘Most likely the illicit profits proceeding from narco-trafficking were the main sources of spectacular enrichment of Bakiev’s clan during his presidency in 2005-2010. There were numerous evidences that the very arrival of Kurmanbek Bakiev to power in March 2005 as a result of ‘Tulip revolution’ was financed and supported by prosperous international narco-mafia’. The blogger maintains that in 2010, just as in 2005, ‘the geostrategic interests of the US and the international narco-mafia happily merged again… It was only logical for the US establishment to use the services of narco-barons to overthrow Bakiev, who demanded from the US more and more pay-offs for his loyalty…’. A similar view was expressed by writer and commentator Alexander Prokhanov in the April 16 broadcast of the Ekho Moskvy radio station: ‘The revolution in Kyrgyzstan was… a revolution organized by the drug business. It replaced Akaev’s regime with Bakiev’s one, and now Bakiev’s regime – with the regime of the notorious Roza. Kyrgyzstan remains the key route of drug-trafficking to Russia’.

Drug barons are extremely influential in Kyrgyzstan. There are estimates suggesting that the areas used to cultivate poppy in the republic are comparable in size to those in Afghanistan. This is just one of the pertinent circumstances. Another is that Kyrgyzstan hosts the Gansi Air Base operated by the US Air Force at the Manas airport in Bishkek. The Base is an important transit point for the supply of US forces in Afghanistan. The third pertinent circumstance is that Kyrgyz human rights watch groups have stated a number of times that the base also serves as a transit hub in a global drug trafficking network. When one of such statements was made in September, 2009, China’s People’s Daily cautiously expressed agreement with the view held by Kyrgyz human rights activists – it quoted experts as saying that the Manas base in Kyrgyzstan could be used by the foreign military to transit drugs from Afghanistan.

The Oriental Review blogger substantiated his claim concerning the common interests of the US and the international drug mafia in the case of the coup in Kyrgyzstan by pointing to the fact that remained unnoticed so far but can actually be regarded as material evidence. On April 7, Great Britain’s Daily Telegraph featured a set pictures taken at the time of the recent bloody riots in Bishkek. One of them shows an insurgent firing a Kalashnikov assault rifle near a government building. A striking detail that can be discerned in the picture is ‘the HWS (holographic weapon sight) attached to the AK gun in the hands of an opposition fighter’ which is ‘the product of the US L-3 Communications EOTech Corporation, 500 series, retail price 600 USD each one (four average monthly salaries in Kyrgyzstan)’.

A Kyrgyz opposition supporter fires an automatic weapon near the main government building during a protest against the government in Bishkek. Picture: AFP/GETTY

Based at the University of Michigan, EOTech has been a supplier of holographic weapon sights since 1996. According to the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), exporting the weapon requires licenses from the US Department of State and from the US Department of Commerce. Upon being tested by the army, a number of such sights were supplied to the forces in Afghanistan and a few more – to the US police. The device has never officially exported to Kyrgyzstan or Russia. Therefore, a machine gun with the US-made sight could not be seized by an insurgent from the Kyrgyz special forces during the riots. Thus, The Daily Telegraph picture provides evidence that the coup in Kyrgyzstan was materially supported using a US military base sited in Afghanistan or in Kyrgyzstan. Naturally, this had to be a violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and of the US arms export regulations. Well, obviously the game was worth it. Afghanistan’s poppy output rose by a factor of 40 (!) – from 185 to 8,200 tons a year – over the first six years of the US occupation. It is a safe bet that major developments are brewing at the Afghan-Kyrgyz direction.”

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