Turkmenistan’s 744-kilometer border with Afghanistan and an extensive outlet to the Caspian Sea make the country a prime drug transit corridor. The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) has provided only limited bilateral training assistance to the Government of Turkmenistan since 1998. Through its foreign assistance programs, INL promotes the key U.S. foreign policy objectives of supporting stabilization operations and promoting security sector reform by helping Turkmenistan strengthen control of its borders, and advance the goals of long-term regional stability.
U.S. Government Programs
INL began a series of meaningful U.S. assistance in the criminal justice sector in 2004 when the Government of Turkmenistan began to display a willingness to cooperate on counternarcotics, including forensic lab training and equipment and border security programs. INL is currently working with the Government of Turkmenistan develop the capacity of law enforcement to interdict narcotics and investigate drug-related crime.
- Justice System Development: In support of democracy building efforts to develop internationally recognized standard for the rule of law, INL has exposed legal professionals and police to U.S. and European justice systems. These activities consist of skills training in the U.S. and Turkmenistan for prosecutors and other law enforcement officials aimed at improving capabilities for investigating and prosecuting narcotics trafficking and money laundering offenses. U.S. based study tours have focused on the adversarial process and exposure U.S. models of indigent defense and criminal procedure. INL has also supported improvements in Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Interior forensics capabilities, focusing on forensics analysis of drugs and crime scene evidence. Assistance has included basic supplies and equipment for field-based evidence collection to the counternarcotics units and forensic scientists. Equipment is selected in cooperation with U.S. experts and will be distributed with commensurate and appropriate training.
- Counternarcotics, Border and Maritime Security: INL has supported the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in their efforts to improve narcotics interdiction on Turkmenistan’s borders. This project provides a range of counternarcotics detection and interdiction techniques to border guards, customs agents, and police. INL will continue to improve narcotics interdiction on Turkmenistan’s border with Afghanistan by creating formal communication networks and training initiatives with their Afghan counterparts. INL is also looking to help the Government of Turkmenistan improve security at their Caspian ports. This includes an assessment of port facilities at main port of Turkmenbashiy, development of a written action plan, and drug interdiction training and equipment. Finally, INL is working to improve communication between Turkmenistan’s law enforcement and their Central Asian neighbors, Afghanistan, and Europe through English language training classes for Customs, Border Guards, and Police Officers.
U.S. Government Funding FY2005-2008
FY05: $ 550,000
FY06: $ 420,000
FY07: $ 550,000
Funding Sources: FREEDOM Support Act (FSA) and International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE).
INCLE Supplemental: $3.6 million (FY02 and FY05) for border control projects and forensic lab development.