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06KABUL1844 2006-04-25 12:01:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kabul
Cable title:  

NEIGHBORS PLEDGE SUPPORT FOR CN COOPERATION AT

Tags:   PREL PGOV SNAR AF 
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1. Summary: The Acting Afghan Minister of Counternarcotics
held a Conference April 13 on regional counternarcotics (CN)
cooperation attended by Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and
Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan did not participate. Political
statements from regional ambassadors focused on the
importance of increasing communication between anti-narcotics
agencies, the evils of the drug trade and the need to
strengthen border control. Proposals made by alternative
livelihood experts included: placing CN liaison officers in
each foreign embassy in Afghanistan and Afghan CN liaison
officers in their embassies in neighboring countries, holding
regular expert level side meetings and establishing an
official information exchange program. The law enforcement
experts proposed: preventing the trafficking of precursor
chemicals, sharing of law enforcement data and intelligence,
the signing of MOUs on extradition between regional countries
and the funding of drug testing labs by donors. China and
Iran were the only countries to send experts on alternative
livelihoods and law enforcement, as well as their
ambassadors. This meeting was in preparation for a larger CN
conference to be held in May. End Summary.



2. The April 13 Conference on Counternarcotics Cooperation
was attended by Ambassadors and experts from Pakistan, China
and the Central Asian Republics. Political statements were
made supporting closer cooperation on CN issues, support for
Afghanistan and greater border control. Afternoon expert
sessions were held on alternative livelihoods and law
enforcement. A larger conference on CN will be held by the
Afghan Ministry of Counternarcotics in early May.

Iran


--------------------------





3. Iranian Ambassador Raza Bahrami, the first envoy to speak,
expressed his country's strong support for greater regional
cooperation on CN issues, including the efforts made by the
GOA, the UN and the UK. He argued that Afghanistan already
is a narco-economy, which poses an extreme threat to the
GOA's stability. He noted that most neighboring countries
were now narcotics consuming as well as transit countries.
Bahrami advised them to focus on practical, implementable
programs over the long term that focus on eliminating
cultivation and developing the legal economy in the region.
His concrete recommendations were: developing markets for
Afghan products, funding the establishment of industries that
require Afghan raw materials, micro finance credits,
aggressive eradication and better border control.

Pakistan


--------------------------





4. Pakistan Ambassador Tariq Azizuddin focused on Pakistan's
problems with the drug trade and CN efforts. The GOP has
created a special CN police force, passed a new money
laundering law and established six new courts for drug
offenses. He argued for placing equal emphasis on demand
reduction as is currently given to eradication and
trafficking. He noted that strong cooperation on CN was
important to Pakistan, with its 6 million addicts.

China


--------------------------





5. Chinese Ambassador Liu Jian said China strongly supported
greater regional cooperation against drugs, the greatest
threat to Afghanistan's stability. He suggested establishing
a regular regional liaison channel, and regular bilateral
meetings to continue working on CN issues. Jian noted that
China trained Afghan police in 2005 and in 2006, the Chinese
Ministry of Public Security will be donating equipment to the
Afghan police services. In the future, the GOC will offer
additional assistance with law enforcement, information
exchange and experience sharing.

Central Asian Republics


--------------------------





6. Tajikistan contributed the most to the CN discussion among

KABUL 00001844 002.2 OF 003


the Central Asian Republics. Ambassador Farhad Mahkamov said
that Tajikistan was active in CN efforts, and would continue
to arrest traffickers in collaboration with neighboring
countries. He thanked the U.S. for its assistance in
establishing the Tajik CN agency. Mahkamov recommended
greater assistance from the international community to create
a secure monitoring belt along borders. He also suggested
greater efforts to fight the trafficking of precursor
chemicals.



7. Turkmen Ambassador Aman Yaranov admitted to some drug
trafficking through Turkmenistan. He argued that CN
cooperation required a collective approach beyond Afghanistan
and its neighbors to be successful.



8. No representatives from Uzbekistan attended the
conference.

Government of Afghanistan


--------------------------





9. CN Minister Qaderi argued that concrete means of
cooperation needed to be worked out to achieve success.
Deputy Foreign Minister Saikal said that the current level of
communication among countries in the region had not been
sufficient for successful CN networking and border control.
He noted the MFA's creation of a new working group for
regional cooperation that could assist in CN cooperation.
Deputy Minister of Interior Daud mentioned President Karzai's
declaration of a jihad against narcotics, and asked for
additional help in police training to combat trafficking, end
the precursor chemical trade and improve information
exchange.

Proposals from Expert Panels


--------------------------





10. The alternative livelihoods expert group proposed:
exploring joint alternative livelihood centers with
neighboring countries; supporting joint residential experts,
one in each embassy; regular expert side meetings rotating
between countries; exchanges, secondments and study tours
focused on alternative livelihoods; and developing official
information exchange programs on alternative livelihoods.



11. The law enforcement expert group supported: a call on
chemical producing countries to follow the 1988 UN resolution
on CN to prevent the trafficking of chemical precursors; ask
neighboring countries to increase law enforcement against
precursors and ask the international community for funds to
improve capacity in the border police corps; increase
intelligence sharing among Afghanistan and neighboring
countries and exchange reports on narcotics seizures; place
CN liaison officers in regional embassies; establish MOUs for
extradition and criminal information exchange; and establish
drug testing labs funded by the donors and the international
community.

Comment


--------------------------





12. The GOA,s preliminary conference on regional CN
cooperation was a qualified success in-so-far as all
neighboring countries except Uzbekistan attended and agreed
on steps that needed to be taken. The paucity of substantive
dialogue was offset by expressions of support for regional
cooperation. Increased information exchange and placement of
CN liaison officers in regional embassies could boost CN
interdiction and success, but it remains to be seen whether
Afghanistan and its neighbors will follow through. Post will
follow up and encourage participants to take concrete actions
prior to a larger regional CN conference in early May. If we
can obtain solid commitments from regional players, donor
funding of these proposals could be money well spent.



13. Iran and China may be the neighboring countries most
likely to work for greater regional CN cooperation,
considering their strong expressions of support and the fact
they sent experts for both panels. Tajikistan also seems

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committed to CN cooperation, and has made considerable CN
efforts, but unlike Iran and China, is resource poor and
requires significant donor assistance. Uzbekistan,s
absence, mirrored in several recent regional conferences,
could prevent successful regional cooperation in the long run.
NEUMANN