HomeDOCUMENTSCommittee Reports2003 Annual Session159 EC 03 E - THE DANGER OF NARCOTRAFFIC FROM AFGHANISTAN FOR THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
159 EC 03 E - THE DANGER OF NARCOTRAFFIC FROM AFGHANISTAN FOR THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
Victor VOITENKO (Russian Federation)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
II. AFGHANISTAN IS ONE OF THE DRUG COUNTRY LEADERS
III. DRUG - TRAFFIC ROUTES FROM AFGHANISTAN
IV. THE RUSSIAN FRONTIER GUARDS AGAINST THE DRUG THREAT
V. ONLY IN COOPERATION IS IT POSSIBLE TO FIGHT AGAINST THE DRUG THREAT
1. The world community entered the 21st century with a lot of unsolved and negative problems of global character.
2. Among them drug abuse and drug crime, financing terrorism and extremism, corruption, money laundering, spreading Aids and other diseases - all these make up a far from complete list of the threats which brings to the humanity the illegal drug abuse. The analytical research conducted of late in the sphere of drug abuse by different international organizations and national special centres show that trans-national drug syndicates increase their activities, "embrace" more and more new regions and territories for cultivating and producing drugs. At the same time they perfect the routers and ways of trafficking the fatal cargo. They involve in their business different layers of population, whole ethnic groups and in general a great number of people. The process of illegal turn over of drugs knows no racial or sex, religious, national aspects. It is the main value-human life - that most often undergoes the danger of this disaster. Every year the drug abuse brings danger to millions of people in the world. Approximately over 200 million people take drugs of different king and the consumption enlarges every year.
3. Human organism gets accustomed to drugs quickly and to get rid of it is practically impossible. The majority of addicts are as a rule younger than 30, and they do not live up to be 30.
4. As the US Secretary of Justice John Tornborgh pointed out: "Drug business is the greatest mass killer. Bloody hands of a criminal usually hit only one victim, whereas a drug dealers extinguishes one life after another, and like a vampire from a thriller creates other addicts after his own image and they in their turn create others, and the disaster spreads among generation and affects who have not been born yet."
5. New and new victims get into drug's net every year. According to statistics each addict every year involves into this evil from 10 to 15 persons. The horrible thing is that the youth is the most vulnerable part of the population. In some countries the number of young people - who have already taken marijuana reaches about 40%. According to experts for getting illegal drugs people of the planet spend much more money than on food, clothes, education, medical service. According to the UNO specialists the annual turn over of the world drug mafia exceeds 600 billion dollars, which is almost 10% of the world trade. In some years it exceeds the turn oven of the world car and raw metals markets taken together. Only in bank sphere there circulates not less than 11 billion drug dollars.
6. The events of the 11 September 2001 in the USA on the one hand became a serious sign to the world community about the danger, coming from the international terrorism, and on the other hand - made us think about the connections of the world terrorism. One of its most dangerous connections is the illegal turn oven of drugs - an important source of the financial support of the international terrorism.
7. Operations with drugs bring up to 2000% of profit and it makes them attractive both to the trans-national criminal organizations and to separate criminal groups, whose purpose is getting maximum profit in the shortest time. 70% of the organized crime finances belong to drug business.
8. The illegal drug turn over stimulates corruption. With the help of corruption the criminal groups involved in drug business try to avoid punishment. A part of the profit is spent on bribery and getting some necessary information. They select data about the corrupted officials in law enforcement and other authorities, about the market conjuncture, about the drugs prices.
9. Drug industry is constantly perfecting it self, rising its technical and financial potential, adapting its interests to the latest achievements of the scientific progress.
10. Trans-national drug syndicates buy the latest weapons and ammunition, electronic systems, constantly improve the methods of self security. They use some part of the profit to buy new communications, ciphered means and technical means to expose radar. According to specialists drug business puts about 125 million dollars into buying new "technical means for signal intelligence."
11. Cultivating drugs influences badly on the economic growth. Drug industry is often the reason of the destabilization of a state and weakening of its political system because of the corruption. The main part of the profit from the illegal drug turn over gets to the countries where the ready drug products are being sold.
12. Afghanistan is an example of the fact that the illegal drug trade may cause the destabilization of the whole country. Increasing opium production lead to the civil war at the beginning of 90-ies, slowing down the economic development and dropping the level of life. In the countries next to it, Pakistan and Iran, that considerably cut or stopped opiate poppy cultivating, there was a positive economic growth both in the 80's and in the 90'.
II. AFGHANISTAN IS ONE OF THE DRUG COUNTRY LEADERS
13. It will not be any exaggeration to say that Afghanistan is among the countries that monopolize the drug world market.
14. The war waged in Afghanistan for many years has ruined the economy of the country and made the foreign and domestic policy weak and ineffective. Peasants have begun to look upon growing opium poppy as the only chance to escape from the abject poverty they live in.
15. Afghanistan produced 685 meter tons of drugs in 1993 and already 950 tons in 1994, and 1250 tons in 1995. In 1996 the production rocketed up to 2100 tons and in the year of 2000 up to 3667.
16. Besides opium poppy Afghan peasants grow cannabis sativa (marijuana) and produce hashish.
17. The number of drug addicts has drastically increased in the countries bordering on Afghanistan. For example, according to UN statistics the number of drug addicts in Pakistan has increased by 30% and reached 2 million people and 1,25 million in Iran. Over the last few decades the number of drug addicts in former Soviet Central Asia republics has increased 3-fold (or even up to 7-fold-according to some analysts).
18. The scope of drug trafficking is clearly defined by UN Crime and Drug Committee experts declaring the Afghan origin of the 70 percent of opium and almost 100 percent of heroine smuggled into Europe
19. Taliban officials saw narcotics as a curse troubling the West and considered drug production a tool in their war against anti-islamic world.
20. While the Taliban regime was trying to get international recognition and legality Mullah Omar banned opium poppy production, but, actually, this measure had a well-calculated publicity purpose, and, by cutting down heroine supplies to the world market, Taliban got a chance to dispose of their old drug stores at very high prices.
21. After the beginning of the American anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan hopes were entertained that it would slow down the drug expansion from Afghanistan. To facilitate the fight against Afghan criminal drug leading groups Russian officials gave to American representatives and their allies accurate satellite location of Afghan opium and heroine production laboratories and secret opium poppy fields.
22. But now optimistic expectations concerning the possible development of the drug situation in Afghanistan have become much more sober. In February 2002 the UN International committee for Drugs Control reported on the unprecedlut increase in opium poppy growing after the Taliban regime was overthrown. At the same time there are no reports that any drug stores, means or laboratories have been found or destroyed during the anti-terrorist operation.
23. Measures taken by the interim government aimed to fight drug trafficking were not effective and even caused the increase in drug production. Under the motto of destroying opium poppy plantations drug lords managed to get profit out of both the gathered yield and opium poppy straw sold to international organizations. Favourable climate and the opportunity to get double profit urged the drug lords to sow the territory under their control with opium poppy.
24. Measures taken by the new Afghan administration and international organisations in order to reorient Afghan peasants towards growing other crops by paying them for each hectare of destroyed opium poppy plantations haven't led to the expected result. According to the experts the compensation is much less then the profit from selling the opium gathered from the plantation. According to the UN experts' estimates the growing of opium poppy is 30 and 40 times as profitable as growing of wheat and cotton respectively. The attempts to destroy opium poppy plantation meet strong, sometimes armed resistance from people.
25. The UN humanitarian aid to Afghanistan has led to decrease in domestic purchase price on grain, which hasn't improved the situation.
26. One of the factors worsening the drug-trafficking situation in Afghanistan is the involvement of some authorities and army commanders providing security for drug-trafficking operating. Last February the chief of Nangarhar province police Khazarat Ali was arrested for the involvement in kidnapping and drug trafficking. As it became known, the man used US helicopters given by the US command to combat terrorists and the Taliban fighters in his own purposes. He engaged the helicopters to transport large shipments of drugs to the north of the country from where they were smuggled to drug dealers in the neighbouring Central Asia states.
27. In autumn 2002 Afghanistan again topped the list of opium producers, after a short pause. According to the chief of the State Commission of Afghanistan on drugs Mr. Ansari and the UN experts' conclusion, areas occupied with opium poppy increased 9 times the level of 2001 and were about 60 - 80 thousand hectares. Especially large (about 47 % ) the increase was in the north of the country, in the provinces neighbouring Tadjikistan, the province of Badahshan being the leader among them (with the increase of 30 %).
28. According to assessments by experts, the crops (used to produce drugs) which were produced in 2002 (from 3,500 - 4000 tons), along with the stock that the drug producers already had, would allow the Afghan producers to trade in the current quantity for the next 2 - 2.5 years.
29. The UN estimates that there are at least 400 drug laboratories, 63 of which are located in the northern provinces of Afghanistan along the Tajik-Afghan boarder. There have been reports that the new permanent and mobile heroin producing laboratories are being built in some Afghani provinces.
30. Thus, the smuggling of opiates from Afghanistan in the countries of central Asia, in Russia and further in Western Europe, USA and Canada gets the more and more wide and organized character, bringing the international terrorist groupings high profit, and also creates threat for economic and social stability in our countries.
III. DRUG - TRAFFIC ROUTES FROM AFGHANISTAN
31. The UN official estimates show that annually from Afghanistan it is taken out more than 120 tons of heroin.
32. The problem of drug-traffic from Afghanistan to the Euroasian region and, first of all, to Russia, is extremely actual. It is connected with the geopolitic position: our country is the original bridge between Europe and Asia. Russia one of the first meets with drug-threat from Afghanistan.
33. The basic routes of transportation of narcotic substances from Afghanistan are:"Western" - via Iran to Turkey and further to the Western Europe and the USA;"Northern" (so-called "northern corridor") - via territories of Turkmenistan, Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan and further through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan to Russia, the countries of the Western Europe, Scandinavia, to the east coast of the USA and Canada.
34. According to the United Nations experts estimates about 65 % of opium and 80 % of heroin are taken out from Afghanistan by northern route.
35. Routes via Iran and Pakistan have traditionally been considered by narcotraffickers among the most attractive. However, by UNDCP estimates, this way has lately been under severe pressure, first of all because of significant successes of Iran and Pakistan in struggle against illegal circulation of drugs.
36. The "Northern route" via Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia is more and more widely used by drug-dealers for deliveries of heroin and opium to European countries.
37. The Russian experts do not exclude, that one more route of transportation of the Afghani drugs through a juncture of Tadjikistan, China and Afghanistan borders, further through the territories of China, Kazakhstan and Russia over to the West and East European countries can shortly appear.
38. Numerous researches show, that drug-dealers and corrupted officials usually receive drugs, not money for their services. They resell these drugs or use them. As a result, the number of addicts along the drug-couriers' routes is sure to increase, consequently, the rate of crime and virus diseases, in particular, AIDS and hepatitis, is growing.
IV. THE RUSSIAN FRONTIER GUARDS AGAINST THE DRUG THREAT
39. Due to its main task the Border Guard Service of the majority of countries is the integral component of the system of the bodies providing the security of the state. And as its immediate competence includes questions of parrying the border threats, the Border Guard Service potential is also directly involved in combating drug smuggling. First of all it concerns exposing and preventing the illegal transference of drugs through the frontier. Within the framework of nation-wide measures the role of such a "filter" is extremely important. And under the conditions of expansion of drug business geography, a variety of tactics and ways of drug transference - this task becomes more and more urgent.
40. No doubt, a reliable barrier to international drug-dealers on state frontier, i.e. at a stage of penetration into the country, is capable of limiting their opportunities considerably and to prevent the tragic consequences of drug abuse.
41. The Border Guard Service of the Russian Federation contributes much to the counteraction of drug smuggling from Afghanistan on Tajik - Afghan and on Russian - Kazakhstan border.
42. Most of all drug withdrawals from illegal circulation is marked on Tajik-Afghan border which according to the interstate agreement is protected by the Russian frontier guards. So, according to Regional Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention representatives in Central Asia, during the last three years, from 80 up to 85 per cent of opium and heroin has been withdrawn by all states of the Central - Asian region in Tajikistan.
43. Only in 2002 law enforcement bodies of Tajikistan and the Russian border forces detained 7 tons of narcotics, including about 4 tons of heroin. This amount includes about 60 per cent of the withdrawn drugs - over 4 tons - as s share of the Russian frontier group.
44. In 2000 the Russian border guards withdrew 3,13 tons of drugs; in 2001 - 5,45 tons; in 2002 - 4 tons - on the Tajik-Afghan border.
45. For nine months of 2003 3470 kgs of drugs have been withdrawn on the Tajik-Afghan border including 2185 kgs of heroin.
46. The tendency of growth, both quantity of heroin and its share in the structure of detained drugs still remains sharp on the Russian-Tajik border. In 1999 - 384,2 kg (68 %), in 2000 - 801,43 kg (26 %), in 2001 - 2432,1 kg (45 %), in 2002 - 2300,9 kg (57 %), for 9 months of 2003 - 2185,7 kg (63%).
47. All in all, since 1993 the Russian border guard group in Tajikistan has withdrawn about 21 tons of drugs, including more than 6 tons of heroin.
48. According to some international experts, at present Afghan drug associations have become more numerous, have efficient ramified structure, are well armed, use modern means of communication which makes it difficult to oppose them.
49. One of the characteristic tendencies in tactics of drug smuggling structures is the growing insolence of drug-couriers, fighting against the Russian border-guard details. At present drug trafficking via the Tajik-Afghan border got all the elements of the organized and planned actions, which are supported by the well-organized military groups, smugglers, modern means of communication been used. The sphere of drug-smugglers is broadening. The amount of drugs in one crossing the border weighs to some hundreds kilograms.
50. Only for the last five years in the sectors of the Russian border guard group in the Republic of Tajikistan more than 550 attempts of drug-smugglers transference have been prevented, more, than a thousand border violators, 300 firearms and about 44000 ammunition have been taken. 112 times the Russian border details have been under fire and more than 200 times they took part in the battle as a result of it 13 border-guards were killed and 27 wounded.
51. These facts prove that a real war against the international drugs mafia is under way on the Tajik-Afghan border, and the Russian border-guards are on the main line of resistance to it.
52. At meeting with the frontier guards on September 23 2003, the acting Regional Representative of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UNCND) in Central Asia, Mrs Nasra Hasam, highly estimated their efforts to counteract the illegal drug trafficking. Mrs Hasam said that the co-operation between the Tajik authorities, Russian boarder guards and the UNCND will be a role model for the future UNCND projects in other countries
53. There are no grounds to rely on lessening the drugs smuggling from Afghanistan in the nearest future. We foresee the transnationalization of the drug business in Central-Asian region. Stability of the Afghan-Tajik drug-associations is the result of the drug business existing here for some years.
54. The next important part in combating afghan drug trafficking is the Russian-Kazakhstan boarder. Activity of the illegal drug turnover in Kazakhstan and across its territory has been growing quickly and is characterized by:
First - by increasing the member of drug-traffic across the Kazakhstan State border.
The drugs coming to the Republic are intended for the further transference to other countries.
Second - new orientation of the criminal drug groups to spreading on the territory of Kazakhstan the so-called hard drugs. 384 % increase of the quantity of heroin and a 60% increase of the quantity of morphine speak for it.
55. Competent authorities manage to detain not more than 15-20% of drugs, coming to Kazakhstan. The amount of the withdrawn from the turnover heroin is even lower (according to the experts estimation it is not more than 1%)
56. For the transit of drugs via Russian-Kazakhstan border (mainly heroine), air, railway, car routes from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are actively used.
57. Generally drug couriers try to carry drugs in the local trains and busses, by small portions hidden in clothes, personal effects, in the elements of means of transference.
58. About 2 tons of drugs have been detained on the border with Kazahstan for the last 5 years, which is more than a half (57%) of all the withdrawals on the Russian border. About 560 kg of drugs (heroin - more than 388 kg) have been withdrawn on the Russian-Kazakhstan border for 9 months of this year.
59. Unfortunately, only a small part of drugs is detained on Russian-Kazakhstan border and it has its own objective reasons. On the one hand the volumes of transportation across the southern borders of Russia increase annually. On the other hand - The Russian Border Service and the State Customs Committer (SCC RT) do not dispose of the necessary infrastructure and equipment for organizing relevant counteraction to drug smuggling. Besides, up to now not a single check point across the state border meets the requirements by its technical equipment. Finances received from the federal budget are not enough for setting the border and strengthening the anti-drug potential of the border units.
60. According to the experts opinion at present Kazakhstan is not only the territory for drug trafficking, but it produces drugs. A considerable raw base for producing drugs is situated in Chuiskaya valley, where Indian hemp grows wild, and out of which it is possible to make annually up to 5-6 tons of marijuana. In the parts of the South-Kazakhstan district bordering on Uzbekistan there are facts of raising opiate poppy.
61. In spite of the taken measures the level of illegal activity of the trans-boarder crime groups remains high. Opiate smuggling from Afghanistan in Central-Asian countries, Russia and further to the Western Europe, USA and Canada is becoming wider and more organized, bringing to the national terrorist groups high profits and threatening economic and social stability not only of Russia but of many other countries of the world.
62. Drugs may be considered as a weapon to terror and spiritual enslavement. One can imagine the consequences for the states of the European Union if all this drug stream would gush out into the countries of Europe.
63. The Russian border guards are trying to block these channels. The Russian Border Guard Service has taken additional measures to strengthen guarding Tajik-Afghan and Russian-Kazakhstan borders.
V. ONLY IN COOPERATION IS IT POSSIBLE TO FIGHT AGAINST THE DRUG THREAT
64. Not a single state can cope with the problem of drug trafficking, because it gas become a part of the international illegal business.
65. It is necessary to note a high level of cooperation between Russian law-enforcement authorities and the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.
66. It is the UNCND's technical assistance which allowed the Russian Border Guard group in the Republic of Tajikistan to work precisely and operatively on concrete organised drug dealers. The results show the success of the Russian boarder service in Tajikistan.
67. Russia is going to continue cooperation with UNCND to enhance technical capabilities of the Russian boarder divisions on the Tajik-Afghan and Russian-Kazakh boarder. We believe that the implementation of this project should not be seen as a simple action. It is essential to continue to strengthen the capabilities to counteract the growing extent of the drug smuggling in Central Asia. However, capabilities are not enough, it is also important to change the attitude of the international community towards drug smuggling across the Tajik-Afghan and Russian-Kazakh border which are further transferred to Russia and Europe.
68. The point is that Russia faces some misunderstanding of this problem. Taking into consideration the great scale of illegal drug traffic, some countries-donors are of the opinion that this drugs smuggling via the territory of our country is not a threat either to their countries or to the world community. But trans-boarder criminal groups have already established links and develop them actively. So, it is evident that no state is able to oppose the drug threat. The Russian Border Guard Service prevents drugs smuggling which threatens the security of the European countries; and strengthening its operative and technical possibilities of anti-drug units is a priority task and to its solving the European community should pay special attention.
69. Given that, an important part of the complex approach to the fight against the drug threat coming from Afghan territory, is our work for the realization of the decision of the world community to create a double "belt of safety" around Afghanistan (March 2002, Resolution of the 45th Session on the Commission on Drugs, 1.16 about the necessity to strengthen the "belts of safety" around Afghanistan). Setting a reliable safety barrier to Afghanistan drug traffic on the Russian-Kazakhstan border and further strengthening of the anti-drug potential of the Russian Border Guard Group in Tajikistan must become a task of priority.
70. Now there are not enough practical steps from the side of international community for creating the anti-drug belts around Afghanistan.
71. Meanwhile, the information collected by the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) says that 70% of opiates of Afghanistan origin confiscated in 2002 in the world were withdrawn in the countries bordering on Afghanistan and situated on the ways of drugs transit (Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Tadjikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia). To compare, in Europe about 12 % were withdrawn, and on the American continent - 3%. This data show that the main volume of confiscation is close to Afghanistan commodity. As soon as these portions reach the markets they turn into a number of small portions, that are much more difficult to find and detain.
72. It is evident that the further drugs move from the country where it is produced, the more difficult it is to fight with its illegal distribution. Is not it an argument in favour of setting "belts of safety"?
73. Withdrawing considerable portions of drugs the transit countries carry on great financial expenses in forming special anti-drug units, their technical and information support, cadre training. But the life of the personnel of the law enforcement authorities, special services and border-guards is the most important payment for the success in the fight against the drug syndicates.
74. It is more effective to realize the measures undertaken by the world community to lower the illegal drug traffic along the Afghanistan border line.
75. The above-stated information and analysis of counteraction to distribution of narcotic means acting from Afghanistan, results in a unequivocal conclusion that of measures undertaken by each state at a national level inside the country obviously not enough. There is a need for an effective strategy on behalf of the international community to control the drug trafficking from Afghanistan.
76. In our opinion, this strategy could be the creation of "safety belts" along the Tajik-Afghan and Russian-Kazakh boarder.
77. Russia has a detailed proposal on this matter. We are currently working on the strategy "Enhancing the Tajik-Afghan boarder" which would allow to significantly increase capabilities of the Russian frontier guards stationed on the boarder with Afghanistan and Tajik police.
78. We are currently working on the creation of the most important "Safety belt" on the Russian-Kazakh boarder, where, as we believe, the main efforts need to be invested.
79. Cost of realization of these projects high enough. One Russia with financing of the program of creation " Safety belts" to not cope. At least, during nearest 10-15 years. The urgent and real help is necessary on the part of world community. In this case program of creation of "safety belts" will begin to be carried out in short terms. For the account concerning low financial costs for each of the interested countries of Community - by rendering the direct financial help, including in the form of offset of partial debts of Russia before the countries of Community and International financial organizations, granting of the information and equipment, training of the staff - the volumes and percent of confiscations of narcotic means already in a near future could be considerably increased.
80. The international community needs to have an integrated approach towards the control of drug trafficking. It is only joint efforts which can help us to achieve the progress.