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Litvenenko Letter to the Washington Post

Last changed 4 December 2006

Watch Your Alliances

The Washington Post; Saturday, 31 August 2002; Page A24

By citing together Russian special services and Northern Alliance forces as perpetrators of atrocities in Chechnya and Afghanistan, respectively [editorial, Aug. 21], The Post stumbled on a much deeper link between the two than mere participation in America's war against terrorism.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, corrupt officials of the Russian FSB (Federal Security Service) have made millions working with Gen. Abdurrashid Dostum on exporting Afghan-produced narcotics to the markets of Europe. As an officer of the FSB anti-organized crime unit, I investigated that connection and reported on it to Vladimir Putin when he was FSB director. He took no action because the Afghan connection was deemed of strategic significance to Russia.

He proved right. After Sept. 11, Gen. Dostum and his FSB colleagues became an asset that Mr. Putin offered to the West in exchange for condoning the war in Chechnya. In the meantime, the flow of Afghan drugs to the streets of Russian and European cities continues. This is another subject for investigating dark sides of U.S. alliances.