TASHKENT, February 20 (Itar-Tass) — Close and fruitful cooperation between Uzbek and U.S. law enforcement agencies is “a reliable shield against drug trafficking from Afghanistan”, Uzbek officials said after a meeting with the U.S. delegation at Uzbekistan’s Interior Ministry on Monday.
The delegation included Mark Destito, Regional Director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and Christopher Melink, the DEA Country Attache at the U.S. Embassy.
According to the local media, the Uzbek side called for strengthening interaction, as the problem of drug trafficking “poses a real threat practically to all countries irrespective of their political and social status.”
Mark Destito positively assessed Uzbekistan’s role in achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He also expressed gratitude to the Uzbek Interior Ministry for assistance in organizing practical trainings for servicemen of drug control units in 2011.
Local independent observers believe that the U.S. delegation’s visit should be considered in the context of promoting Washington’s new initiative to fight drug trafficking in Central Asia.
In particular, this initiative envisages the establishment of DEA-mentored vetted investigative units of 20-25 personnel from host government drug control agencies.
Each country determines the pace, development and composition of those units, which will focus on disrupting and dismantling the networks that produce and transport narcotics.