Afghan Government and United Nations start project on control of precursor chemicals used to produce heroin

Kabul, 8 May 2006:   The Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) in cooperation with the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have initiated a joint project which is designed to counter the smuggling of precursor chemicals into Afghanistan which are used in the illicit manufacturing of heroin.

"Illegal trade of narcotics unfortunately continues to spread worldwide.  And hence no single country will be able to fight this on its own.  We need to work together, with our neighbors and the international community, to effectively combat this evil," said H.E. Habibullah Qaderi Minister of Counter Narcotics.

Within the framework of this project, which is funded by the European Commission (EC), UNODC in partnership with the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) will establish a Precursor Control Unit (PCU) within the CNPA. Training on precursor control will be provided to Afghan law enforcement agencies to include the CNPA, Afghanistan Special Narcotics Force (ASNF), the Afghanistan Border Police (ABP), and the Afghanistan Customs Control. Mobile training teams will be developed to carry out training in remote locations.  Trained interdiction officers will receive equipment use to identify and detect illicit chemicals.  It is anticipated that Afghan drug law enforcement authorities will be able to identify and seize the precursor chemicals in question and turn them over to PCU for case development and prosecution.  

Through a database system capable of storing and retrieving time sensitive information the PCU will analyze the seized chemicals and determine the country of origin. The PCU will further document and profile the illegal smuggling routes of chemicals coming into Afghanistan with a view to target and dismantle international trafficking organizations.  Moreover, the PCU will develop a working relationship with Afghanistan's neighboring countries as well as the international law enforcement community to assist in fighting this international criminal activity.

"These precursor chemicals destroy the lives of our brothers and sisters, the chemicals cause insecurity and terrorism in the villages and communities all over Afghanistan. This project is another step in the fight against the evil drug traffickers and criminals", says General Mohammad Daud, the Deputy Interior Minister for Counter Narcotics.

In the past opium was smuggled out of Afghanistan and the processing of opium into heroin was taking place in clandestine laboratories located in other countries. In the last few years the processing of opium into morphine and heroin has increasingly taken place inside Afghanistan which requires that precursor chemicals be smuggled into the country.  Such precursor chemicals are under international control due to their use in the illicit manufacture of narcotics. Additionally, control of such chemicals is required due to their health hazards.

UNODC in partnership with the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) will develop a public information campaign aimed at raising awareness on the long-term health hazards associated with the chemical pollution from heroin laboratories, such as the contamination of drinking water and land.

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For further information, please contact:

Richard Murphy
Chief, Advocacy Section
Telephone: +43 1 26060 5761
E-mail: richard.murphy@unodc.org

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