BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Twenty members of the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs, Criminal Investigation Department will join the fight against transnational organized crime following their graduation Friday from an elite training program in the United States.
From June 3 through June 21, members of the Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit (TCIU) of Afghanistan completed the International Taskforce Agent Training (ITAT) course at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Academy in Glynco, Ga.
Graduation from this course is the final step necessary for a foreign law enforcement officer to be considered a full-fledged member of an ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) TCIU. This also fulfills the principles of cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), represented by HSI, and the Ministry of Interior Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan that were memorialized in a memorandum of cooperation signed earlier this year.
"Transnational criminal organizations respect neither borders nor the rule of law," said ICE Principal Legal Advisor Peter Vincent. "In order for law enforcement across the world to stop dangerous criminal activity, we need to be able to work more closely and effectively with our partners than the criminals do with their conspirators. Today, 20 members of the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs, Criminal Investigations Division are taking the final step forward in joining a global team of investigators dedicated to dismantling these criminal organizations. This is a proud moment for the Afghan and American people, and an important step forward in securing the safe and orderly societies that are the bedrock of our civilization."
The TCIU is staffed, supervised, and operated by officials from the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs, Criminal Investigation Department (MOI-CID). HSI Kabul acts as a liaison and provides subject matter expertise and guidance to the officers assigned to the unit in cases of mutual interest. The TCIU was created to provide a platform to address the diverse investigative authorities of the two agencies.
Upon selection as a member of the TCIU, candidates must pass a background check, formal interview and a polygraph. The Afghan candidate must then demonstrate that they are medically and physically fit to attend training in the United States. Finally, the candidate must successfully complete the ITAT course at the ICE Academy.
The completion of this ITAT course fulfills a promise made by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to the Afghan Minister of Interior Affairs and advances HSI’s mission to execute multi-faceted, international law enforcement operations while partnering with foreign and domestic implementers to combat criminal organizations and prevent terrorist activities. It also marks the first time that Afghan MOI-CID investigators were provided training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).
"As the first nation outside of the Americas to join the Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is proud to participate in this international law enforcement effort," said MOI-CID Director General BG Abdul Rahman Rahimi. "As Afghanistan continues to lead law enforcement missions in anticipation of the 2014 U.S. to Afghan Security Transition, the Afghan TCIU will continue to strengthen its law enforcement capabilities. The graduates here today will play an important role in working with our international partners to target the criminal organizations responsible for spreading addiction, abuse and exploitation in our nation and across the world."
Under the direction and guidance of the U.S. Embassy Kabul, Coordinating Director for Rule of Law and Law Enforcement, HSI Kabul and MOI CID have worked diligently to establish, equip and train a specialized unit capable of investigating sophisticated transnational criminal organizations.
The development of the Afghan TCIU will continue to facilitate information exchange and the bilateral investigation of transnational criminal organizations involved in weapons trafficking and counter-proliferation, money laundering and bulk cash smuggling, counterfeit currency, human smuggling and trafficking, narcotics trafficking, cultural property, cybercrime and other violations within the investigative purview of MOI CID.
HSI Kabul, the ICE Academy, and the FLETC worked together to deliver a tailored curriculum that included instruction regarding U.S. and Afghan judicial systems, informant management, counter-proliferation investigative techniques, undercover operations, surveillance, smuggling investigations, tactics and cyber-crime.
In addition, the training teaches the progression of an investigation, which include: investigative methods, interview techniques, evidence processing and warrant execution. The training was made possible by funding from the Department of Defense.
ICE Principal Legal Advisor Peter Vincent, HSI Attaché for Kabul Rick Deasy, ICE Deputy Assistant Director for International Special Operations Eddie Agrait, MOI-CID Director General BG Abdul Rahman Rahimi and Deputy Director MOI Counterterrorism Department Brigadier General Haqnavaz Haqiar attended the graduation.
The Afghan TCIU is one of twelve TCIUs supported by HSI, with the other eleven operating in Central and South America. Collectively, there are more than 300 TCIU members globally mentored by HSI abroad.
The FLETC trains the majority of federal officers and agents in the United States. In addition to providing training for more than 90 federal partner organizations, FLETC also provides training to state, local, tribal and international police in selected advanced programs; graduates approximately 70,000 students annually and is the largest law enforcement training organization in the country.
Headquartered on a 1600-acre campus at Glynco, near Brunswick, the FLETC operates facilities in Artesia, N.M.; Charleston, S.C.; and Cheltenham, Md. The FLETC also has oversight responsibility on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security for the International Law Enforcement Academies at Gaborone, Botswana; and Bangkok, Thailand.