U.S., Kazakhstan sign cross-border crime agreement

September 07. Central Asia Newswire

U.S., Kazakhstan sign cross-border crime agreementThe United States and Kazakhstan today signed an agreement to continue working together on cross-border crime.

Under the agreement signed by U.S. Ambassador Richard Hoagland and Minister of International Affairs Serik Baimagambetov, the United States will give Kazakhstan $425,000 to fight transnational crime and strengthen its law-enforcement capabilities.

The cross-border crime includes drug trafficking, human trafficking and money laundering.

Afghanistan is the world’s biggest source of heroin, much of which is shipped through Central Asia to Russia and Europe.

Fifteen million people around the world use heroin, opium or morphine, experts have said, creating a $65 billion market for the drug and fueling terrorism and insurgencies.

The Taliban raised between $450 million and $600 million from 2005 to 2009 by “taxing” opium farmers and traffickers, according to a report last year by Antonio Maria Costa, head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

One focus of the U.S.-Kazakhstan cross-border crime-fight has been strengthening Kazakhstan’s border security.

The main staging area for shipments of Afghanistan heroin to the north is Kyrgyzstan, many experts have said.

In addition to efforts to strengthen Kazakhstan’s border security, the United States has worked with Kazakhstan to enhance its crime-statistics-collection and forensic-analysis capabilities.

The countries began their transborder-crime cooperative effort in 2002.