With 90 per cent of the world’s illicit opiates being produced in Afghanistan, the neighbouring frontline states in Central Asia have a key role to play in tackling drug trafficking, the United Nations top anti-drugs and crime official said today, during a visit to Tajikistan.
The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, is in the Central Asian region as part of his Office’s efforts to ensure cooperative solutions to meeting such challenges.
While in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, Mr. Fedotov met President Emomalii Rahmon to discuss national and regional efforts to address drug trafficking. In their meeting, Mr. Fedotov spoke of the “excellent cooperation” between his Office and the Tajik authorities in efforts to build peace and stability in the region, according to UNODC.
Ongoing collaboration was also discussed. Since 2000, UNODC has been working with Tajikistan in support of the country’s Drug Control Agency, and to strengthen controls along the Tajik-Afghan border through the provision of expertise, resources, equipment and training.
At a regional level, Tajikistan is also a partner in UNODC’s Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, which works to promote counter-narcotics cooperation in legal, health-related and law enforcement areas in West and Central Asia.
Stressing the importance of multi-country coordination, Mr. Fedotov noted after his meeting with President Rahmon that, “stopping the operations of the criminal groups responsible for this illicit trafficking is critical.”
“We must sever the financial arteries associated with trafficking which fuels other criminal activities, including, in some instances, terrorist activities and insurgencies,” he added.
While in the region, Mr. Fedotov also attended the Ministerial Meeting of the UNODC-supported ‘AKT Tripartite Initiative,’ which brings together the leading authorities in drug control from Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, as part of efforts to coordinate regional responses to an issue that defies national borders.