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Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan - Oct 11

Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan - Oct 11

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Published by Tim Mathews
Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan (October 2011); the eighth semi-annual report to Congress on this topic
Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan (October 2011); the eighth semi-annual report to Congress on this topic

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Tim Mathews on Oct 30, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Afghanistan’s 5,529 km border serves as both a strategic challenge as well as an important
source of revenue. Afghanistan continues to focus on securing the borders and developing the
necessary infrastructure and human capital to maximize customs revenue; however, overall
progress remains mixed.

A significant step forward in streamlining border management operations was reached in June
when the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Finance signed a Memorandum of
Understanding which initiated the implementation of the World Bank-proposed Border
Management Model.

In July, the Afghan Government began a pilot project to operationalize the Border Management
Model at the Hairatan border crossing point in Balkh Province. While the implementation of the
model is proceeding slowly, it has already improved border procedures at the border crossing
point, increasing cooperation between various Afghan agencies as well as promoting efficiencies
in border security, improving narcotic/contraband interdiction, increasing revenue, and
facilitating international trade. The main challenge for the pilot project is the absence of
government support for customs authorities to protect against actions by local powerbrokers.

The border management model pilot project is scheduled for a 90-day assessment in October;
pending the results of the assessment, the model will then be implemented at three additional
border crossing points and adopted as the national border management model.

DoD funding also supports U.S. Embassy Kabul’s Border Management Task Force (BMTF),
which currently has 54 advisors in Afghanistan working at various points of entry, inland
customs depots, and Afghan ministries. During this reporting period, the Department of Defense
signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Homeland Security for an
additional 26 border management advisors in support of Afghanistan’s Border Management
Initiative using Department of Homeland Security funds.

The BMTF continues to support capacity-building efforts of the Afghan National Customs
Academy and the Afghan Advanced Border Management Academy, as well as other specialized
training and equipment relating to interdiction, identification, and testing of illegal narcotics,
IEDs, precursors, and other contraband. The BMTF has also worked with the leadership of the
Afghan Border Police, Afghan Customs Police, and the Afghan Customs Department to develop
a model and implementation plan for the creation of specialized mobile enforcement teams,
which will serve to expose inspection gaps as well as smuggling and corruption efforts in order
to improve border management and security.

Despite these signs of progress, significant challenges continue to hamper further improvements
to border security. The development of a risk management process is a key component of border
reform, but implementation is behind schedule; progress in the risk management pilot project at


the Torkham Gate border crossing point remains limited, and the project continues to be
challenged by the influence of criminal patronage networks. Further, several border crossing
points, including Weesh Chaman and the Kandahar inland customs depot, still lack the
automated system for customs data, a gap which continues to hinder the effective border
management and control of the trade corridor between these two points.

Additionally, the use of truck and cargo scanners can significantly improve security; however,
power availability and other limitations have made placement difficult. The areas between
border crossing points and ANSF outposts, known as green borders, are also extremely difficult
to observe and control and create opportunities for lost revenue to smuggling as well as the
import of illicit or dangerous goods.

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