On 14 March in Vienna, Austria, the United States contributed $1 million to Sub-programs I and II to the UNODC Regional Program for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries. The U.S. contribution is to be focused on promoting enhanced techniques for the investigation, arrest, and successful prosecution of significant drug traffickers operating in Afghanistan and Central Asia, as well as the disruption of their trafficking networks. UNODC’s work under the Regional Program is expected to complement the United States’ efforts in the region to increase the presence of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officers in region, working closely with national counterparts in each country, and DEA’s work to promote the development of specialized, sensitive investigative units within existing national drug control agencies, services and departments in the region. The DEA already works with similar units in Afghanistan and one of the goals of the U.S. initiative, known as the Central Asian Counternarcotics Initiative (CACI) is to promote information-sharing and cooperation between Afghan and Central Asian investigative units.
The regional initiative will augment existing U.S. Government counternarcotics-related assistance to Central Asian governments by increasing the focus on effective investigations and prosecutions of significant drug traffickers. The approach will provide additional counternarcotics assistance to Central Asian governments, including, where requested, the establishment of specialized units focusing exclusively on narcotics law enforcement, and promotion of regional cooperation through the work of UNODC under its regional program and the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC), based in Almaty.