Tajikistan is the first line of defence in stemming Afghan drugs: UNODC Executive Director
Dushanbe/Vienna (UNODC) - 30 November 2010. As part of a series of regional meetings covering several states in West and Central Asia, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has met with a number of key stakeholders to discuss increased cooperation to tackle drug trafficking through Tajikistan.
He thanked the President of Tajikistan, Mr. Emomalii Rahmon for, "Tajikistan's steadfast efforts to combat drug trafficking". His meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Hamrohon Zarifi, the Minister of the Interior, Colonel General Abdulrakhim Abdulakhadovich Kahharov, and the Director of Tajikistan's Drug Control Agency, Lieutenant General Rustam Nazarov, covered collaboration between UNODC and the Tajik authorities on border management, drug control, terrorism and corruption at the local and regional levels.
Speaking on these issues, and the position of Tajikistan within the region, Mr. Fedotov stated, "The flow of drugs from Afghanistan poses a serious threat to security and development throughout Central Asia and beyond, and Tajikistan is the first line of defence. We appreciate the difficulties Tajikistan faces in carrying out this dangerous and daunting task."
Trafficking of Afghan drugs through Tajikistan is a serious issue. Current estimates point towards 15 per cent of all Afghanistan's opiates and 20 per cent of that country's heroin being trafficked through Tajikistan.
UNODC's relationship with Tajikistan stretches back to the late-1990s with collaboration on the establishment of the national Drug Control Agency, and through furthering the operational capacity of the Tajik Border Forces. The current relationship largely focuses on these linked issues, with the aim of supporting law enforcement, capacity building, providing policy and legislation advice to Government institutions, and reducing the spread of drugs.
Mr. Fedotov said: "We also encourage Tajikistan to become more deeply engaged in regional counter-narcotic initiatives, particularly the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC), and support intelligence-led policing and Operation Tarcet", (which targets precursors chemicals to make drugs.
Since the establishment of the Drug Control Agency, UNODC has worked with the Tajikistan Government in enhancing law enforcement capacity in the region and improving national and international cooperation. In the 11 years since the Drug Control Agency was formed 900 drug-related cases have been dealt with and 10 tons of drugs have been intercepted and seized. Additionally, the Agency has been instrumental in providing information and leads on countless regional actions which have removed even more drugs from the international market.
At the conclusion of the meetings, Mr. Fedotov expressed his support to work closer with the Tajik Government to improve the safety of people in Tajikistan and across the region: "Security ultimately means the ability to ensure the safety of citizens in every city, every village and every street. It is also based on people's confidence that they can live without fear of becoming victims of criminals and drug dealers. Tajikistan's counter-narcotic efforts have the potential to improve life for its own citizens, as well as for people throughout Central Asia and beyond".
Following the meetings in Dushanbe, Mr. Fedotov flew to the Panji Rayon Bridge at the Tajik-Afghan border and met with the authorities of Kunduz Province in Afghanistan to discuss successes and challenges related to drug trafficking in the area.
* *** *
For further information:
Representative: Regional Office for Central Asia
(+998-71) 120-8050 or (+998-93) 388-8171
Public Information Officer