Friday, November 26, 2010

Drug Trafficking: Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan strengthen anti-drug trafficking initiative

Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

25 November 2010 - The Afghan, Iranian and Pakistani Ministers for drug control have adopted measures to strengthen their cooperation in addressing drug trafficking at the annual meeting of the UNODC-facilitated Triangular Initiative in Islamabad, Pakistan, earlier today.

The Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan, Mr. Zarar Ahmad Moqbel Osmani, the Secretary-General of the Drug Control Headquarters of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Eng Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, and the Federal Minister for Narcotics Control of Pakistan, Mr. Arbab Muhammad Zahir, agreed to establish additional border offices to increase cooperation between law enforcement officials.

Further, the Ministers committed to expanding the work of the Joint Planning Cell in Tehran, which aims at sharing information on illicit drug trafficking. Agreement was also reached on organizing more joint patrolling operations in the border areas of the three countries. In addition, the Ministers agreed to enhance legal cooperation in drug-related matters.

Congratulating the Governments on the progress made at the annual meeting, Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, said: "Your countries form the first line of defence against the massive flow of illicit drugs that threaten security throughout the region and beyond. Many of your law enforcement and border control agents, as well as ordinary citizens, have sacrificed their lives in the fight against drug trafficking. This is a terrible price to pay, and we mourn their loss."

Mr. Fedotov also praised the Governments' cooperation which has been demonstrated by simultaneous operations conducted in 2009 and 2010. Six operations have taken place, leading to significant drug seizures - almost 2,500 kilograms of opium, heroin and hashish - and the arrest of at least 74 drug traffickers.

UNODC launched the Triangular Initiative in 2007 to strengthen cooperation in law enforcement between the three countries most seriously affected by illicit opiates from Afghanistan, the origin of more than 90 per cent of the world's opium and heroin. The Initiative has helped to forge an unprecedented level of cooperation between the three countries on vital issues such as border security and regional cooperation to deal with drug trafficking.

On the same day, Mr. Fedotov met with Mr. Asif Zardari, President of Pakistan to further strengthen Pakistan's and UNODC's joint programme to fight drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime.

They discussed the new expanded UNODC country programme that was developed in close collaboration with the Government. The programme, for the period 2010-2014, will significantly increase international support in four areas: illicit trafficking and border management; criminal justice; drug demand reduction and HIV/AIDS programmes; and recovery assistance to law enforcement establishments affected by the recent catastrophic floods.

UNODC and Pakistan will cooperate in securing national borders, establishing international standards for the criminal justice system, and setting up prevention and treatment programmes for drug users. Mr. Fedotov praised the Government of Pakistan for its role in supporting regional initiatives to combat drug trafficking.