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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06KATHMANDU328 2006-02-02 12:04:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

REQUEST FOR JIATF-WEST ASSESSMENT

Tags:   ECON KCOR KFRD CVIS SNAR PTER NP 
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1. (U) This is an action request, see paragraph 6.

SUMMARY


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2. (SBU) There is considerable political instability in
Nepal, which is in the midst of an ongoing Maoist insurgency.
The current condition of the country has contributed to
Nepal being used as a staging and transit area for alien
smuggling, with the increasing possibility of terrorists
using Nepal as a transit point to the United States. There
is an upsurge in the number of Nepalese involved in narcotics
trafficking. According to media reports, it is highly likely
that Maoist insurgents traffic weapons into Nepal for their
own use. Also, if the Maoists ever took control of the
country, a rise in crimes such as money laundering and
cyber-smuggling would likely follow. Post requests that the
Joint Inter-agency Task Force West (JIATF West) conduct an
assessment in Nepal. End Summary.

ALIEN SMUGGLING, POSSIBLE TRANSIT POINT FOR TERRORISTS


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3. (U) Nepal's proximity to India and China, its lax or
corrupt border patrols, and the sizeable number of
international flights in and out of Kathmandu have
contributed to Nepal being used as a staging and transit area
for the organized smuggling of people to the United States
and Europe. Post is concerned that terrorists could use
Nepal as a transit point or conduit for entry into the United
States (ref B). High levels of corruption in the country,
combined with the open border with India, provide a setting
in which a third-country national with ill intent could
easily buy fraudulent Nepalese documents and attempt to
travel from Nepal to the United States, pretending to be a
Nepalese citizen. Obtaining fraudulent documents is very
easy in Nepal. There is a thriving business for fraudulent
documents as increasing numbers of Nepalis seek to leave the
country due to the ongoing Maoist insurgency. Corruption of
government officials also makes genuine, but illicit,
documents easily obtainable. Immigration and customs
officials have noted a need for equipment and training in
order to enhance overall enforcement efforts at the
international airport and border areas (ref A). Embassy
Kathmandu has worked closely with officials from the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and
Customs Enforcement, New Delhi, who conducted well-received
document verification and contraband identification and
seizure training in Kathmandu in 2005 (refs C and D).

NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING INCREASING


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4. (U) Nepal's Narcotics Drug Control Law Enforcement Unit
(NDCLEU, the main government body charged with combating drug
trafficking in Nepal) reports that Nepalese are investing and
taking a larger role in running narcotics trafficking
operations (ref E). The pattern of narcotics seizures
suggests that narcotics transit Nepal from India, Pakistan
and Afghanistan to other countries in the region and to
Europe, North America and Japan. The NDCLEU has identified
the United States as a final destination for some drugs
transiting Nepal. A lack of transport, communications and
surveillance equipment constrains the NDCLEU's effectiveness.
Security measures to interdict narcotics and contraband at
Kathmandu's international airport are inadequate. The
ongoing Maoist insurgency has also had an impact on the
rule-of-law and interdiction efforts in many parts of the
country. Maoist insurgents have used drug smuggling to
finance their insurgency.

ARMS TRAFFICKING, MONEY LAUNDERING, CYBER-SMUGGLING


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5. (U) Arms trafficking, money laundering, and
cyber-smuggling are problems of varying degrees in Nepal.
There is draft legislation pending cabinet approval that
would strengthen Nepal's money laundering enforcement regime.
According to media reports, it is highly likely that Maoist
insurgents bring weapons into Nepal through the porous border
with India for their own use, but they do not appear to
traffic weapons to third countries. While there are no
indications that Nepal is a center for money laundering or
cyber-smuggling, police have expressed interest in training
on money laundering and financial crimes, as well as how to
track propaganda e-mails sent by Maoists, which could be
relevant to various forms of cyber-smuggling. If the Maoists
ever succeeded in taking control of Nepal, the greatest fear
would be that Nepal could become a safe-haven for other
terrorists, similar to Afghanistan under the Taliban. To
avoid this doomsday scenario, any efforts to improve
enforcement efforts related to arms trafficking, money
laundering, and cyber-smuggling would be of benefit to Nepal
during these tenuous times.

REQUEST FOR JIATF WEST ASSESSMENT


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6. (SBU) From the information above, one can see the
potential for harm against the United States. I strongly
believe an assessment from JIATF West could enhance USG
efforts to strengthen Nepal's overall enforcement capacity in
areas such as alien smuggling, terrorist insurgency, and
border interdiction methods to address transnational crime
(narcotics interdiction, money laundering, trade fraud,
cyber-smuggling and general smuggling), thus taking necessary
steps to protect the United States. I hereby request JIATF
West to conduct an initial assessment in Nepal at its
earliest convenience and to inform Post of its ability to do
so.
MORIARTY