This study by the Terrorism, Transnational Crime, and Corruption Center (TraCCC) focused on the routes out of Afghanistan through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for illicit commodities that allowed financing and logistical support to terrorist organizations such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda. This included examination of the shifts caused by recent events, including the political unrest and upheaval in Kyrgyzstan.
Using its unique entrée in states of the former Soviet Union and its expertise on organized crime, illicit activities, corruption and terrorism in the region, TraCCC examine the landscape of illicit trade from, within, through and into Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and other bordering areas of Central Asia.
In carrying out the project work, TraCCC analyzed the following specific aspects of illicit trade:
1. the physical, financial, and air/ground logistical means of illicit trade and routes of illicit trade;
2. the political, social, ethnic, cultural and geopolitical climates that influence illicit trade in the region, with particular attention to recent political upheaval in Kyrgyzstan including the ensuing power vacuum in Kyrgyzstan’s south;
3. the same analysis was also applied to Tajikistan
4. the types of illicit trade, including drug trafficking, trafficking in nuclear materials, weapons trafficking, cigarette smuggling, and trafficking and smuggling in humans;
5. the role of corruption and organized crime in facilitating illicit trade; and
6. the identity of individuals, tribal/ethnic/cultural groups, crime syndicates, government organizations, and commercial entities involved in this trade.
Second, TraCCC provided an assessment of law enforcement structures, the judiciary and the armed forces in these countries, as well as their capacity to address illicit trade within and through their borders and/or their willingness and ability to partner with the United States to combat illicit trade. TraCCC identified ways and situations in which law enforcement is a serious part of the corruption problem and undermines efforts to curtail the illicit trade.
Finally, TraCCC drew on its expertise to provide comparative analysis of viable methods of addressing illicit trade worldwide., TraCCC offered recommendations for closing current gaps in U.S. ability to stem illicit trade in this region and/or assist these countries in doing so.