On 30-31 March 2010, the UNDOC Regional Office for Central Asia and the UNODC Country Office Afghanistan held a debriefing for the international partners involved in the latest round of operational activity combating precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of heroin. The Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre, which had acted as the information and analytical hub during Operation TARCET II, hosted the meeting in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
During the two day meeting, participants from 13 countries and seven international/regional organisations (including the EU, INCB, ISAF, OSCE and WCO) reviewed operational performance, considered results and made recommendations for subsequent joint action.
Operation TARCET II took place in Afghanistan, I.R. of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan with the technical support of Paris Pact Partners that included France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The operation was made possible thanks to the generous donor support of Canada, the European Commission and the United States. This phase of the initiative resulted in the seizure of approximately 450 tonnes of precursor chemicals that could otherwise have been used for producing heroin. This amount of chemicals would have been sufficient to make 156 kgs of heroin (a quantity that would be worth more than US$ 37 million on the European market).
The TARCET initiative (which began in 2008 with TARCET I) has widened perceptions in the region of how to tackle the heroin trade by offering an alternative approach to disruption. No significant seizures of acetic anhydride, the principle precursor chemical, had been reported by countries surrounding Afghanistan in the years following 2001 and little was known about how it was actually reaching the heroin producers. Since the start of the TARCET programme, however, a new focus has resulted in greater intelligence and in major seizures (including 14 tonnes in March 2008, 5 tonnes in July 2009, 15,800 tonnes in March 2010 in Pakistan and 5 tonnes in I.R. of Iran in May 2008).