Cablegate: Staffdel Nunez-Neto Meeting with Unodc Terrorism Prevention

DE RUEHUNV #0422 2531502
P 101502Z SEP 09



E.O. 12958:N/A
SUBJECT: StaffDel Nunez-Neto Meeting with UNODC Terrorism Prevention

1. SUMMARY: At the request of Congressional staff delegation
(staffdel) Nunez-Neto, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
officials provided the staffdel with background information on its
findings related to the production and trafficking of illicit drugs
and insurgency or terrorist activities. Terrorism Prevention Branch
(TPB) officials focused on the situation in Afghanistan, briefing
the staffdel on current opium production data and trafficking
routes, as well as Taliban involvement in trade and production. The
staffdel appreciated the briefing and indicated they would follow up
on U.S. seizure statistics. END SUMMARY.

Opium/Heroin Production in Afghanistan

2. On August 27, a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs delegation consisting of Blas Nunez-Neto,
Bradford Belzak, Tera Shaw, Stephen Vina, Michael Russel and
Department of Homeland Security officials Marc Frey and Edward
Lovett, met with UNODC officials including John Sandage (Officer in
Charge, Terrorism Prevention Branch), Bernard Frahi (Deputy
Director, Division for Operations), Bernard Leroy (Senior
Inter-Regional Adviser) and Hakan Demirbuken (Afghan Opiate Trade
monitoring Program). The meeting commenced with an overview of
statistics and numbers on production, trafficking, and market size
of raw opium and heroin in Afghanistan. According to Demirbuken, 340
tons of heroin and 1,100 tons of opium (which equals a total of
3,700 tons dry opium) is the estimated yearly global demand.
Demirbuken noted the current level of production is 8,600 tons per
year and the level of stocks is 10,000 (without 2009 production).
Demirbuken opined that these stocks are either located in the FATA
or Baluchistan, Pakistan. According to Demirbuken's research, the
Taliban receives an estimated U.S.$125 million per year from this
drug trade; he added that the Taliban's yearly costs were around
U.S. $700-800 million. The staffdel asked about Al Qaida involvement
in the Afghanistan narcotics trade; according to UNODC officials,
there is currently no evidence that Al Qaida is involved in the
illicit production or trafficking in Afghanistan.

Overall Narcotics Trafficking and Terrorism

3. UNODC officials noted that it was important to study possible
links between transnational organized crime groups and terrorist
organizations. For example, noted Frahi, the heroin market in Russia
and Europe alone is worth U.S. $32bilion per year and would thus be
an opportunity for terrorists to raise assets. Demirbuken was
pleased with the DHS Frey's offer to follow up on U.S. seizure
statistics. Mr. Leroy shared his experience as a regional adviser
to several countries. North Korea is heavily involved in drug
trafficking, he reported. It is a main provider of amphetamines for
the Japanese market but there is growing evidence that the country
is getting involved in heroin trafficking. Hezbollah is involved in
drug trade due to the large Lebanese communities in regions such as
South America and West Africa, Leroy added. Furthermore, he stated
that terrorists in North Africa may be benefiting from drug trade
money. Other terrorist groups in Europe which benefit from drug
trafficking are the Kurdish PKK or Kosovo networks. In response to a
staffdel question, Leroy added that China's drug problem is
increasing and that most of the heroin consumed in China comes from

4. COMMENT: UNODC officials, as usual, provided a detailed and
comprehensive oversight of the narcotics flows in the Afghanistan
region and straightforward information on flows elsewhere in the
world. Staffdel members were clearly interested in the information
and indicated they would follow up on the issue of U.S. seizure
statistics. END COMMENT.

5. Staffdel did not have an opportunity to clear on this cable.


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