The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: Kazakhstan is a primary transit country for Afghan-origin narcotics being smuggled to Western Europe and Russia and is increasingly a destination and transit country for synthetic narcotics. Kazakhstan’s law enforcement agencies continue to fight transnational threats such as narcotics, trafficking in persons (TIP), and organized crime. The criminal networks that operate in the region, however, are employing increasingly sophisticated means to move illicit drugs, money, and people through Kazakhstan. INL programs target the development of skills to fight criminal networks to help advance our relationship so that Kazakhstan and the United States can continue to be partners in the fight against transnational crime and other shared threats.
Goals: Through its assistance programs, INL seeks to strengthen border security and counternarcotics efforts, with a focus on interdicting transnational networks, to improve the investigation and prosecution of domestic and transnational crime, including through anti-money laundering efforts. INL programs also help Kazakhstan combat trafficking in persons, including forced labor, debt bondage, and sex trafficking, by strengthening the skills of law enforcement, judicial officials and other actors that can play a role in identifying trafficking and responding.
Accomplishments: Despite the program’s modest budget, INL is able to partner with government agencies and international organizations to make effective use of limited funding. As a direct result of INL’s support, Kazakhstan’s border security agencies have increased their capacity to detect, prevent, and disrupt border-related crimes, including drug and human trafficking, through improved skills in identification of fraudulent documents, effective interviewing, and improved risk profiling of persons crossing the borders and inside the country. Because of INL engagement, Kazakhstan is also close to meeting its UN Security Council resolution commitment to introduce an Advanced Passenger Information Exchange system, which will aid Kazakhstan’s efforts to prevent the entry of criminal elements into the country. INL has developed the capacity of the K9 explosives detection teams to detect explosives on the border, including homemade explosives. Narcotics trafficking through the country is declining, in part due to the improved capabilities of narcotics enforcement officers trained through the INL program and mentored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In response to the new trend and threat of online sales of narcotics, INL has also started training instructors from the counternarcotics agencies to investigate such crimes.
In Anti-Money Laundering/Counterterrorism Finance (AML/CTF), Kazakhstani government and non-government personnel (including banking officials) are receiving U.S. technical assistance and training that is being incorporated into Kazakhstan’s legal and regulatory regimes to ensure compliance with Financial Action Task Force recommendations. As a result of INL-funded workshops and trainings, Kazakhstan is developing mechanisms to address the lack of interagency cooperation in law enforcement related to financial crimes.
INL programs in TIP victim identification are increasing the number of law enforcement officials, labor inspectors, and medical personnel who can properly identify victims of trafficking and respond appropriately. INL funding created a TIP Training Center within the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOI) that develops professional capabilities to investigate and prosecute TIP crimes. The Center not only trains officers from specialized units, but within the larger law enforcement community in general. Funding for this training center is now fully incorporated into the regular MOI budget.