Central Asia Counternarcotics Initiative Discussed in Vienna
At a meeting on the margins of the Paris Pact Ministerial February 16, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement William Brownfield outlined the details of the U.S. Central Asia Counternarcotics Initiative (CACI). The initiative is an inter-agency approved U.S. effort to assist Central Asian nations in combating drug trafficking from Afghanistan. With the approval of Central Asian governments, it envisions the establishment of DEA-mentored vetted investigative units of 20-25 personnel from host government drug control agencies. Each country determines the pace, development and composition of those units, which will concentrate on disrupting and dismantling the networks that produce and transport narcotics. Such units already exist in Afghanistan. Development of analogous structures in Central Asia would enable the sharing of information with Afghanistan-based units and with one another in Central Asia, and facilitate joint work and operations between country-based units.
Assistant Secretary Brownfield concluded the meeting by pledging to continue to work bilaterally with governments to accomplish the goals of the initiative, to continue broad consultations, including with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which have been occurring regularly in Moscow, and to continue to work with Russia, Afghanistan and Central Asia countries on a statement in support of multiple efforts to combat narcotics, including CACI, CSTO and other organizations.
We continue to discuss with Central Asian officials the establishment of vetted units and other types of counternarcotics assistance that the U.S. is prepared to provide. With Afghanistan, we are discussing the promotion of counternarcotics cooperation with its Central Asian neighbors. We are also continuing to discuss with Russia the necessity of combating narcotics trafficking through Central Asia to markets in Russia – bilaterally through the Counternarcotics Working Group under the U.S.-Russian Bilateral Presidential Commission and multilaterally through the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the NATO-Russia Council, the OSCE and the Central Asia Regional Information Coordination Center (CARICC).