UNODC participated as an observer of the Channel operation
Creating and strengthening cooperation between countries in the fight against drug trafficking is a key element of the UNODC mandate. Criminals do not respect national boundaries, so the exchange of information between countries in real-time is crucial for effective counter-narcotics operations. One of the main counter-narcotics operations conducted in the countries of Western Asia, Central Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is Operation Channel, which is coordinated under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). This operation has been carried out every year since 2003. Operation Channel has had a significant impact over the years, and has led to significant illegal seizures of drugs and strengthened the capacity of participating countries to conduct joint real-time operations.
In accordance with the bilateral Protocol on joint projects on combating drugs and crime between UNODC and CSTO, signed in 2006, UNODC, within the framework of the Regional Program for Afghanistan and neighboring countries, adopted participation as an observer in the last stage of the operation “Channel”, which took place from May 28 to June 1, 2018, with the Coordination Center this time in Issyk-Kul Oblast, the Kyrgyz Republic. The regional program also joined as an observer at the previous stage in Saratov, Russian Federation.
Deputy Minister of the Interior of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Almazbek Orazaliev, during a meeting of the Coordination Staff "Channel" noted the need for further work to pool efforts and develop mechanisms for an integrated response to illicit drug trafficking. He noted that the main problem in the sphere of responsibility of the CSTO is still drug production in Afghanistan, which, according to UNODC, increased significantly last year.
Within this stage of Canal 2018, the law enforcement agencies of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, together with the competent authorities of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and China, and Financial Intelligence Units of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism, Interpol and the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC) have also introduced comprehensive investigation and search measures aimed at identifying and blocking the circulation of drug trafficking channels to the States participating in the operation. As a result of the coordinated actions of the law enforcement agencies of the participating countries at this stage of the Operation, over 5 tons of narcotic drugs, psychotropic and potent drugs, including 4 tons and 753 kg of opium, 416 kg of hashish, more than 83 kg of heroin, 169 kg, were withdrawn from illicit trafficking. marijuana and 5 kg of synthetic drugs.
Operation Channel has significantly advanced in blocking the illegal smuggling of drugs from Afghanistan to Europe. The CSTO and its member state actively attract states from outside the region, as well as international organizations to their activities, which increases their effectiveness. Since the beginning of the operation in 2003, more than 360 tons of drugs were seized. The UNODC, through the Regional Program for Afghanistan and neighboring countries, also supports regional anti-precursor operations (Operation Substitution) and synthetic drugs (Operation REFLEX).