The 7th ASEAN Airport Interdiction Task Force (7th AAITF) 9-10 May 2017, Brunei Darussalam

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Thursday 11th of May 2017

The 7th ASEAN Airport Interdiction Task Force (7th AAITF) 9-10 May 2017, Brunei Darussalam

             Regional effort required to combat drug menace

             BRUNEI Darussalam recognises that it cannot tackle the drug menace alone – even with the best efforts.

            Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Acting Director Haji Mohd Jaffari bin Haji Mahadi yesterday said this at the opening of the 7th ASEAN Airport Interdiction Task Force, at the Rizqun International Hotel.

            Representatives from all ASEAN member states, ASEAN Secretariat and Interpol are attending the May 9-10 meeting that aims to strengthen cooperation between ASEAN member states, particularly in the sharing of information and the support of interdiction at international airports, as well as coordination in cross-border investigations and operations.

            “The increasing number of regional strategies also reflects a growing understanding that drugs are an issue that cannot be tackled only at the national level by one country alone,” Haji Mohd Jaffari said in a speech, adding that “it is a shared responsibility, and requires concerted efforts of all regional member states.

             “We must be mindful that with ASEAN economic integration that promotes the free flow of goods, services and people, it would also inevitably increase the number of illegal trade and transnational crimes within the region.

              “With transnational crimes comes complexity. Therefore, the need to build and maintain collaborative partnerships – while strengthening cross-border and interagency cooperation to respond to growing complex transnational organised crime – in the region is eminent,” he said.

              He said that collaborative partnership within the region has taken on more significance with the implementation of the new ASEAN Work Plan on Securing Communities against Illicit Drugs 2016-2025, on October 20, 2016.

             “We can be proud that the new tagline, ‘Securing ASEAN Communities against Illicit Drugs’ and the new ASEAN Work Plan, adopted at the 5th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters in Singapore last year, continues to uphold our regional aspirations of a drug-free ASEAN,” he said.

              “Over the past years, ASEAN has achieved much by working together in joint operations, the sharing of information and intelligence, and exchange of best practices, as well as capacity-building.

               “Driven by the political impetus of our ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters (AMMD), initiatives such as the ASEAN Airport Interdiction Task Force (AAITF), along with other mechanisms such as the ASEAN Narcotics Coordination Centre (ASEAN-NARCO) and ASEAN Seaport Interdiction Task Force (ASITF) have enabled us to disrupt the operations of regional drug syndicates more effectively.

               “These platforms have not only provided us a multilateral cooperation setting, but also helped improve the capabilities of each agency through training workshops and the sharing of best practices,” he added.

                Members of the Brunei Darussalam Airport Interdiction National Task Force, including NCB, Royal Brunei Police Force, Royal Customs and Excise Department, Internal Security Department, Immigration and National Registration Department, Department of Pharmaceutical Services and Department of Civil Aviation are attending the meeting.

                AAITF was established under the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD) Sectoral Body in 2012, as an initiative in addressing the increasing threats of drug trafficking at international airports in the ASEAN region.

                Its task force serves as a platform for ASEAN member states to exchange information between the respective enforcement agencies responsible for intercepting drug trafficking into the region through international airports.