The U.S. Defence Department or Pentagon is funding the construction of an anti-drugs center at Karachi airport ‘to support the fight against narcotics smuggling’, the U.S. embassy said Thursday.
The statement comes following local media reports that the US Army Corps of Engineer has been granted permission to build a Tactical Command and Operations Centre (TCOC) compound at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi to exchange information with Pakistan Customs Drug Enforcement Cell concerning smuggling activities in and around Karachi.
Reports said this week cited documents released by US Army Corps of Engineer, Middle East District that the magnitude of this construction project is between one million to two million US dollars.
The U.S. embassy confirmed funding of the project and said the U.S. Department of Defense is funding the construction of a “Customs Tactical Command and Operations Center” at the request of the Government of Pakistan, specifically, the Pakistani Customs Drug Enforcement Cell, Karachi.
“Our joint goal is to support the fight against narcotics smuggling. This project, in accordance with the Government of Pakistan’s requested specifications, consists of the design and construction of two new buildings for the Pakistani Customs’ Drug Enforcement Cell,” the statement said.
It added that an administrative building that will serve as an operations center for Pakistani Customs personnel to exchange information concerning drug smuggling activity and six guard posts to help screen airport cargo at the airport tarmac entrance gates.
The statement said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers only role is to oversee the award of the contract for the project to a private construction firm and supervise its implementation.
“No U.S. military or other USG personnel will be involved in the actual construction, operation, or staffing of this center, which will be exclusively owned and operated by the Government of Pakistan,” the embassy said.
It said that the project will be completed in the Summer of 2014 and that the project will enable Pakistan to coordinate rapid response to narcotics and contraband smuggling and is a tangible representation of the joint U.S-Pakistan commitment to address this important issue.