AIR CARGO TRAINING FOR AFGHAN CUSTOMS DEPARTMENTFeb 14, 2017
In partnership with UK Border Force, UNDP’s EU-BOMNAF project conducted a week-long training course for Afghan Customs Officers, on the subject of profiling and targeting within air cargo operations. Training for the twelve participants, who serve in airports all over Afghanistan, was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan during the second week of February.
With the support of EU-BOMNAF staff, instruction was carried out by UK Border Force Officers, Mr. Colin Duval and Mr. Karam Bolina, from London’s Heathrow airport. Course content drew on the UK Border Force’s extensive operational experience, which includes cooperation with law enforcement agencies in Europe, West Africa, South America and the Caribbean. To better illustrate the regional strategic situation to participants, Ms. Amelia Hannaford, Head of Office of UNODC in Tajikistan, also presented a briefing on Central Asian trafficking routes.
The course syllabus was principally focused on methods of interception of narcotics and contraband consignments smuggled within legitimate cargo consignments. Topics included analysis of transport documents for false information, recognition of suspicious use of couriers and freight, initiation of local intelligence profiles and establishing a risk management matrix. In order to provide students an insight into the relevance of skills and practices used by international crime syndicates, several examples of authentic UK Border Force narcotics’ intercepts and smuggler arrests were reviewed and discussed.
On returning to their respective units, students will be responsible for passing on key learning points and training materials to their colleagues in the Afghan Customs Department. Participants indicated that lessons learned will be integrated into on-the-job training for new recruits.
Collaboration of this kind between EU-BOMNAF and UK Border Force highlights the ongoing need for inter- agency cooperation against transnational threats such as narcotics traffickers and smuggling of illicit goods across international borders. Sustained resource and information sharing between stakeholders will assist mitigation of the effectiveness of well-established smuggling operations and organized international crime networks.
Reflecting on the training, one Afghan customs officer said, “This course has been very useful. We can now conduct better cargo searches by analyzing manifests, looking for ‘red flags’ and clues of suspicious consignments. God willing, this will save us time and lead to increased (narcotics) seizures”.
"This partnership between EU-BOMNAF and the UK Border Force provides a vehicle to deliver much needed international support to wider Central Asian counter-smuggling efforts. Having discussed future cooperation with Mr. Chris Perkin, UK Border Force's regional manager for Asia, we have agreed that considerable scope remains to continue provision of joint, high quality training. Therefore, I am pleased to say we are looking forward to building on the success of the air cargo course by presenting further opportunities for combined Afghan-Tajik customs training in the near future", explained William Lawrence, EU-BOMNAF Project Manager.
William LAWRENCE, EU BOMNAF Project Manager at email@example.com;