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US Provides Funding for New OSCE Anti-Terrorism Unit - 2003-09-21

A new unit is being formed in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to clamp down on terrorism and organized crime.

The United States has just donated $250,000 to what is called an Action against Terrorism Unit, or ATU.

The OSCE is made up of 55 countries in Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus region, as well as the United States and Canada. The outward borders of the OSCE stretch to Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

Press spokesman Ayhan Evrensel said the U.S. funding enables the anti-terrorist unit to concentrate on cross-border criminal activities such as trafficking in drugs, human beings, money laundering and terrorist activities relying on the use of illegal travel documents. Mr. Evrensel said the control of travel documents is especially important. "The recently adopted action plan against trafficking in human beings asks particularly this anti-terrorism unit to continue to facilitate through workshops, for example, and to focus on detecting documents used for illegal purposes specially related to trafficking in human beings and in detecting false travel documents which are used for the entry of trafficked persons and to improve other ways of detection, for example, interview techniques," he said.

The failure to spot forged travel documents has allowed some terrorists free passage through many countries.

Earlier this year Brian Woo, a former counter-terrorism director in the U.S. State Department, was appointed to run the Action Against Terrorism Unit in Vienna.