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TOP STORY: ICE signs memorandum of cooperation with Afghanistan

ICE signs memorandum of cooperation with Afghanistan
ICE signs memorandum of cooperation with Afghanistan

A memorandum of cooperation was signed Feb. 6, to memorialize a joint commitment to continue the Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit (TCIU) in Afghanistan and set forth principles of cooperation between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), represented by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Ministry of Interior, of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Although the memorandum is not an international agreement, it serves as a transparent record of the participants' intentions regarding the TCIU by outlining the agreed upon principles of cooperation, addressing how personnel will be selected and retained, detailing how information will be treated, addressing future funding, explaining how equipment will be procured, and answering other general questions.

The TCIU is staffed, supervised and operated by officials from the Afghan Ministry of Interior; HSI Kabul acts as a liaison and provides guidance to the unit. The TCIU was created to provide an investigative platform to address the diverse investigative authorities of the two agencies. The TCIU improves investigative coordination and communication between the involved agencies, and synchronizes coordinated responses to transnational crimes.

Upon being selected to be a member of the TCIU, candidates must pass a background check, formal interview and a polygraph. The Afghan candidate must then prove that they are medically and physically fit to attend training in the United States. Finally, the candidate must successfully complete the International Taskforce Agent Training course at the ICE Academy in Glynco, Ga.

The signing marks the formal establishment of the 11th TCIU globally, and the first established in Central Asia.

Peter S. Vincent, the principal legal advisor for ICE Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), in conjunction with Mohammad Younis Noorzai, the anticrime general director for the Ministry of Interior of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, signed the memorandum in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The memorandum was a collective effort among HSI's Office of International Affairs Middle East and Africa, HSI Kabul, OPLA, U.S. Department of Justice attaché Kabul, the DHS of the General Counsel, the Ministry of Interior of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and U.S. Embassy Kabul coordinating director for Rule of Law and Law Enforcement.